Jamaica Government wants quicker access to dormant accounts
KINGSTON – The Jamaica government says it is looking at reducing the time frame for government to have access to dormant bank accounts.
Billions of dollars remain unclaimed in local financial institutions. Under the Banking Act, money in bank accounts that have been dormant for 15 years or more become part of the revenues of the government.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service Audley Shaw Shaw said the 15-year period is excessive and a proposal to reduce the time frame will be submitted to Cabinet shortly.
Addressing the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Jamaica (YEA) policy forum last week, Shaw responded to a proposal from the group for the dormant funds to be used for the benefit of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
He agreed that some of the funds could be made available to the SMEs for special programmes.
“The issue (of dormant funds) is very much on my radar… about J$45 billion (One Jamaica dollar =US$0.008 cents sits in dormant accounts and it has become an issue of controversy,” he noted.
Other proposals from the YEA include having SME representatives sitting on government boards; special taxes and incentives for small businesses; and establishing a special relationship with the Credit Bureau, where failure of the business would not affect their credit rating and ability to access loans. (CMC)