MONEY SERVICES BUSINESS (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2019, PASSED TO ENHANCE OPERATIONS OF BUSINESSES LICENSED UNDER THE PARENT ACT

Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 24, 2020 (SKNIS): The Money Services Business (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed in National Assembly on January 23 to enhance operations of businesses licensed under the parent act.

“With respect to this bit of legislation, I am advised that a close examination of the services provided by companies in this area has been undertaken by our technical persons who would have looked at various companies in St. Kitts and Nevis who are licensed under the Money Services Business Act,” said the Honourable Lindsay Grant during the sitting of Parliament.

Minister Grant added that “they have looked at whether or not the needs of the customers, those who are using the services of the businesses under this Act, whether there were any measures that could have been required to enhance the overall operations and not only the institutions existing in the federation, but to make sure the individuals who use the services are also satisfied.”

The minister stated that the data that have been produced on this sector highlighted that the money services businesses operators in St. Kitts and Nevis serve a significant portion of the population in St. Kitts and Nevis.

“The fact of the matter is Mr. Speaker that there is a significant    portion of the population who may find it difficult to get services through the traditional lending institutions,” he said. “So they use the companies that have a more accessible form of business to get the required capital. So, we have to make sure that we protect these persons who use these services.”

Minister Grant said that as a consequence of this, the government in its efforts must ensure that appropriate measures are in place to safeguard the interests of those persons who are using these particular companies.

“So, Mr. Speaker, with the technical teams going to work, they have studied the financial reports produced on this sector and after a close examination of the growth of the sector, Mr. Speaker, recorded over the last three years a comprehensive review of the Money Services Business Act in order to ensure that it keeps apace with the industry,” he said.

Some of the amendments that were passed include providing another option for developing entrepreneurs and to alleviate the obstacle of getting funding from the more established financial institutions, which is being faced primarily by sole proprietors and small enterprises in St. Kitts and Nevis. The Bill also seeks to amend section 2 by allowing small businesses to also be able to   borrow money from these lending institutions. Additionally, instead of $5000, the amendment allows for small businesses to borrow up to $50,000. The Bill also addresses measures to improve not only the regulatory provisions, but the supervisory framework of the entities that is licensed to conduct money service business in our federation.