|The Institute of Private Enterprise Development (IPED) yesterday hosted its 23rd annual general meeting at the Pegasus Hotel’s Savannah Suite, but as was expected, it was not all celebratory, given that the micro financing body’s Chairman, Dr Yesu Persaud, informed stakeholders that the loans disbursed for 2008 had declined by 11 per cent.IPED’s Chairman Dr Yesu PersaudThere was a positive note, however, in that the value of the loans increased by a modest four per cent.It was reported that in excess of 5,000 loans worth $1.4B were disbursed in 2008, with direct or indirect benefits filtering down to some 140,000 Guyanese throughout the length and breadth of the country.Dr Persaud, addressing the clientele and staffers of IPED yesterday, said that when the company first opened its doors in April 1986, few people had at that time perceived that IPED would over time grow to be such a success story.“We have achieved success beyond our expectation. Our destiny is to help people? help themselves,” this he said will remain a hall make of the company in the future.He pointed out that despite the current financial crisis that permeates the world over, IPED is totally self financing and has managed to maintain an adequate surplus (even more than the previous year) which was of utmost importance to the survival of the company.Surplus for 2008 was $95.1M compared to $82.1M in 2007. “All the surplus is usually reinvested to grow the portfolio, so that the Institute can be self sustaining. He pointed out that the surplus retained has managed to keep ahead of inflation.”In the chairman’s published report, he noted that IPED market share of loan balance to the Private Sector was three per cent of the total.“In the case of the agriculture sector, in other crops it exceeded all the commercial banks combined. Rice was 23 per cent and vending and distribution, 3.4 per cent.”It was pointed out that whilst the company’s primary goals are to meet the needs of its clients through loans and technical assistance, it maintained a focus on being financially sustainable.Delivering the feature address at the AGM yesterday, was a special guest, Raymond Drouin, of the High Commission of Canada. He told the gathering, “We in this room know that creating sustainable economic development requires tough-minded individuals who are also committed to work.”He said that he was in admiration of their commitment to establishing a source of income, “and I am proud to be in your company.”He added that given his experience from the inner cities of America to the remote villages of Africa, he knows that the current economic slump is going to seriously hurt the poor,Cheap Jerseys From China, “undermine non-profit social safety nets, and reduce the social finance funding on which so many people depend.”He said that as depressing as the poverty statistics are; as discouraging as Wall Street has been “this audience more than most knows that for a poor person, every day is a lousy stock market.According to Drouin, microfinance marries profit margins to social missions, in that it fuses together pragmatic knowledge about market realities with noble aspirations for economic justice.The Balance Sheet for the entity 2008, showed a decline in the total assets of the company down from $2.3B in 2007 to 1.9B in 2008.Expenses for the company such as employee benefits were $117.4M; bad and doubtful debts were some $17.1M. Interest income was recorded at $245M while interest expense was just over $5M.