– Finance Minister
The Government has undertaken a review of the Linden Enterprise Network (LEN) to ensure that it serves the purpose it was intended.
Senior Minister with responsibility for Finance in the Office of the President, Dr. Ashni Singh said the programme, is not meeting its target.
“Over the last few years, we found that it has not been serving the purpose it was intended and it is not generating the results we expected, including, as a result of persons not repaying their loans, the fund is not revolving. The President has instructed us to conduct a review of the programme and to examine how we can resuscitate and revitalise it,” he said, during a recent Cabinet outreach to the mining town.
The state-funded agency which was designed to serve as a revolving fund, has among its objectives the financing of the establishment of businesses, and, by extension, job creation. It offers loan financing to sectors including construction, logging and vending, and provides financial and business advisory services.
Programmes offered include apiculture (bee-keeping), agro-processing and blockmaking and constructing of low-income homes.
“So, you lend businesses, you lend individuals to set up businesses, their businesses grow, they repay and the fund revolve to lend new entrepreneurs. We gave out hundreds of small loans under LEN for the purpose of setting up businesses,” Dr. Singh said.
Since its operationalisation, some 609 persons have benefitted from the programme. A person can borrow up to $10 million at any one time.
Dr. Singh said LEN is one of the initiatives the Government is promoting to foster the establishment of small businesses and generate jobs.
“We are working currently to facilitate major industrial investment in Linden, which is going to happen, but in addition to that, we are looking at ways in which we can promote medium and smaller scale businesses,” he said. The Minister said the 2021 national budget would also examine ways to revitalise the lending agency.
Since August 2020, the Government of Guyana froze LEN’s lending account and residents of Region 10 have not been able to access business loans. Regional Chairman Deron Adams, at the ministerial outreach last Thursday engaged President Ali on the stop order and how it is affecting business development in the region. Ali too reiterated that the operation of the financial organization needs to be accessed.