Dr. Harris Explains Role of Development Bank

Head office of the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis on the corner of Church and Central Streets in downtown Basseterre. The Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis was established by Government to facilitate better coordination of Government policy initiatives to sectors that had previously been underserved by existing financial institutions, according to Prime Minister and Minister of Finance with responsibility for the Development Bank, Dr. Timothy Harris.

Appearing the on 10 th edition of Leadership Matters, a virtual forum series, on ZIZ TV, Dr Harris made the remarks in answer to a caller who had requested if some of the money for home-ownership at the Development Bank could also be made available at the St. Kitts Nevis Anguilla National Bank to give persons flexibility to work with whichever bank they may choose to.

“The matter of the role of National Bank is a significant one vis-a-vis the Development Bank,” said Prime Minister Harris. “Some of the issues that drive the choice of institution are related to the ease with which policy can be implemented. Development Bank was created to facilitate better coordination of Government policy initiatives to sectors that had hitherto been underserved by existing financial institutions.”

He reminded the listening public, following the series on various local radio stations and social media platforms, not to forget the history of Development Banks throughout the Caribbean as they were organised as instruments to come to the aid of persons whose requests could not be responded with the same agility and flexibility in relation to some of the initiatives Governments would have taken.

“When we, for example, introduce a Fresh Start Programme we can say to Development Bank we want you to run this programme and we say that we do not want the interest rate to be higher than x per cent,” observed the Minister of Finance. “It is difficult to give that kind of dictate, direction, and guidance to commercial banks as they operate under a different set of paradigm and a different set of policy prescriptions.”

Some jurisdictions, explained Dr Harris, have developed Agricultural Development Banks because they recognise their agricultural sector is underserved, as it is difficult for farmers to get loans from commercial banks. He observed that not many farmers have been given loans by those institutions as they (banks) have not been as readily responsive to some of the dictates of nation-building as a Development Bank would […]

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