For the first time ever, the Government of Grenada has received thousands of dollars in dividends from the Grenada Development Bank (GDB).
A cheque was presented to Minister of Economic Development, Oliver Joseph at a ceremony held last Friday at the Public Workers Union (PWU) building as the GDB launched its mortgage-financing programme.
In addressing the gathering, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Pastor Stanford Simon explained the strides the bank has made over the years to reach the point where it is now.
“Based on the bank’s firm commitment to better serve you and the people of Grenada, the critical decision was taken in the past 10 years to look at where we are to restructure and to put things in place to ensure the bank succeeds. As a result, this bank has transcended to the availability of over 54 million EC dollars from 2013 to present”, he said.
“From an annual approval averaging just about under 4 million dollars to approval of 24.8 million dollars in 2016; the highest since the bank has existed. From disbursement averaging under 4 million per year to 17 million dollars in 2016, this is the highest the bank had in its existence and it’s a great achievement for the staff and the Board of Directors”, he added.
According to Pastor Simon, over the years the bank has been “reaping benefits” as well as continuing to meet the demands intended of it and will continue to contribute to national development where ever it is needed.
Credit Manager at the Bank, Donald Williams said the government-owned financial institution is happy that it is able to give back to the State and appreciated the support offered to it by government over the past 52 years in operation.
“As an institution fully owned by the Government of Grenada, I think we can say we have done our part and that we have contributed and provided dividends to the government through our contribution as the sole shareholder of the institution”, he said.
“I know the government when they provide support whether in the form of equity injection or whatever other support, they look forward to rewards and the rewards may not necessarily be in financial terms, but I think what is looked for, is for us to impact and contribute and promote the development of the productive sector, but when on top of that they can literally get some financial dividends,” he added.
Williams went on: “In recent years we have been asking them for a lot. We said to them, look, we at the bank we believe in the institution and what it can do but in order for us to do it we need your support and in recent times the support of the Government of Grenada has been overwhelming and as a result we have been able to get a lot of the resources that we need to do what we are now doing”.
In his remarks, Minister Joseph lauded the bank and its Directors for meeting the expectation of the government.
“The handing over of a cheque for dividends is very significant. You may look at the sum and say well it’s not in relation to government but it’s a token…but it is significant because I have lived in a country in the Caribbean where the government took a decision to close down the Development Bank because it was losing money.
“The first point I want to make to the Chairman and the board, you have to recognise first and foremost that you are a Development bank, so you’re different from other banks, and I find in organisations they quickly lose focus why are we in existence.
“A development bank operates different from other commercial banks…GDB was set up to aid in the development of the country…I am very pleased with the performance of the board, the current board led by Pastor Stanford Simon,” he said.