Gov’t to have faster access to dormant accounts

Sunday, April 23, 2017    

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Minister of Finance and the Public service Audley Shaw has announced plans to have funds from dormant accounts accessed earlier by the Government and channelled into a special programme to assist the MSME sector in its growth initiatives.

With approximately $45 billion now held in such accounts, Minister Shaw further announced plans to revise the time frame in which the Government can access these funds.

Monies held in dormant accounts are handed over to the Government after 15 years.

Minister Shaw delivered his remarks at a policy forum hosted by the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Jamaica (YEA) last Wednesday.

“This matter of dormant funds has become an issue of controversy because many institutions have decided that dormant accounts are fair game for the picking,” Shaw told the gathering.

“I am thinking that 15 years is a long time. We have to look at a possible policy of reducing that time frame. This is something I intend put to Cabinet,” he continued.

Adequate insurance measures will be put in place to ensure “that if somebody turns up to claim a dormant account, funds will be there to satisfy those demands”, Shaw said.

He made the announcement amid calls by the young business leaders for Government to set aside the funds to assist with capitalisation and other developmental initiates of the sector.

In March Shaw announced that a new banking code aimed at protecting Jamaicans takes effect on financial institutions August. Additionally, during his budget presentation he announced that a new financial consumer protection agency to specifically protect customers from financial institutions.

The finance minister also directed the Bank of Jamaica to strengthen the code to better define and protect dormant accounts. A number of institutions, including the National Commercial Bank and Scotiabank Jamaica have since suspended charges applied to dormant local and foreign currency accounts effective immediately.





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