Scotiabank’s announcement of sale premature, inappropriate – Finance Minister

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Moments after Scotiabank announced the sale of its operations in Guyana to Trinidad’s First Citizens Bank, the Guyana Government objected to the announcement, saying that the sale was not completed in compliance with the country’s laws.

Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh described the Wednesday afternoon announcement, which came via a media release from Scotiabank, as premature and inappropriate.

“The government considered it unfortunate that this transaction was announced considering that any such transaction is subject to a specified regulatory process,” Dr. Singh said, pointing out that the regulatory process, as detailed in the Financial Institutions Act, was not followed.

“Section Two of the Financial Institutions Act stipulates that no financial institution may transfer the whole or a substantial part of its operations in Guyana without the approval of the Bank of Guyana… considering that the law makes this requirement it was premature to announce the transaction,” he added.

Dr. Singh, in conveying the government’s disappointment that the announcement was made, said he was particularly concerned given that the regulatory process to consider the request is yet to be initiated, much less to be concluded.

“It is the intention of the Government of Guyana and indeed the Central Bank to ensure that the laws of Guyana are compiled with in the fullest… to ensure the appropriate processes of due diligence are initiated and concluded before any transaction can be proceeded with,” he added.

The announcement of the sale of Scotiabank to the regional bank comes a few years after the previous APNU+AFC government refused to allow for the sale of Scotiabank to Republic Bank which already has a presence here in Guyana.

In the statement on Wednesday, Scotiabank said the transaction supports its strategic decision to focus on operations across its footprint where it can achieve greater scale and deliver the highest value for customers.

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