– eyes new investments
Almost a decade after a major financial downfall, leaving behind a debt of some US million to Guyana, the Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO) Limited is now looking to resume business here with the promise of settling its debt.
This was indicated to the Government when Finance Minister Winston Jordan met with CL Financial majority shareholder, Lawrence Duprey, along with other officials of that company on Thursday last.
According to a statement from the Finance Ministry on Friday, Duprey informed Minister Jordan that he would like to renew his relationship with Guyana as well as publicly apologise to its people for the collapse of CLICO Guyana.
“He also said that CL Financial will try to make amends for the approximately US$40M debt owed mainly to the National Insurance Scheme,” the release to the media outlined.
Additionally, the Finance Minister was told by Duprey that his company was interested in investing in several areas here, including providing solar energy at competitive prices, affordable housing, clay bricks and solar for housing as well as introduce a financial model that would generate savings and alleviate poverty.
After listening to the CL Financial officials, Minister Jordan informed the delegation that he would apprise Cabinet of their discussions. Nevertheless, the Minister also advised Duprey that future engagements could be conducted on parallel tracks: discussions on recovering monies owed by CL Financial and investment in Guyana.
The statement added that both the Finance Minister and the CL Financial team agreed to a follow-up meeting. In the meantime, the Ministry said the Governor of the Bank of Guyana, Dr Gobind Ganga would be consulted to determine the status of all outstanding matters relevant to CLICO Guyana.
CLICO Guyana had approximately $6.9 billion invested in the regional insurance company, when it collapsed in 2009. Among the local investments was $5.2 billion by the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).
NIS over the years would have also been experiencing a situation where its annual expenses began outstripping its revenue – a situation compounded by the billions it had invested in CLICO for a number of years.
To this end, Government in September last year announced that it would be absorbing the $5.2 billion NIS loss incurred when CLICO Guyana crumbled. The “lifeline” monies are to be paid in tranches over a 20-year period.
Minister Jordan had stated at the signing of the agreement to effect this decision that the monies would be returned to Government should the country recover the debt from the company.
In addition, CLICO’s liquidator, Dr Ganga at the time had provided an update on the payments being made to policyholders, noting that while a significant amount has been recovered and paid over, the company still had weighty liabilities to honour – almost $6 billion.