Friday 15 November, 2019

Shaw commends creation of new funding facility for SMEs

Industry Minister Audley Shaw, speaking at the official signing ceremony between the U1SAID and NCB. Seated (from left) are Assistant General Manager, NCB, Stuart Reid; Deputy Chief of Mission, United States Embassy, John. W. McIntyre; Senior General Manager, NCB, Brian Boothe; and Assistant Administrator for the Latin America and the Caribbean Bureau, USAID, John Barsa.

Industry Minister Audley Shaw, speaking at the official signing ceremony between the U1SAID and NCB. Seated (from left) are Assistant General Manager, NCB, Stuart Reid; Deputy Chief of Mission, United States Embassy, John. W. McIntyre; Senior General Manager, NCB, Brian Boothe; and Assistant Administrator for the Latin America and the Caribbean Bureau, USAID, John Barsa.

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Audley Shaw, has commended the creation of the new funding facility developed by the National Commercial Bank Jamaica (NCBJ) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), aimed at providing capital for Small and Medium-Sized Entities (SMEs).

Shaw said the new facility is another step in the right direction of placing low-interest funding in the hands of MSMEs as they are a significant driver of economic growth.

“We want more initiatives like these. We have to build back the economy and to do that, we have to build back the confidence of our entrepreneurs,” Shaw said.

The minister lamented the dearth of low-interest funding options available to MSMEs, despite the fact that “90 per cent of local businesses are MSMEs.”

“Yet MSMEs only access 10 per cent of the money available for loan to for businesses. Ninety per cent of the money goes to large businesses,” Minister Shaw said.

He continued: “So in order for us to get the growth [we seek] and go back to five, six and seven per cent growth, we have to make sure that a larger pool of funds is in the hands and MSMEs,” the minister said.

“We need a period now of just consistent growth and the promotion of entrepreneurial activity through sustainable projects like these,” Shaw said noting the Development Credit Authority Loan Portfolio Guarantee Agreement is a step in the right direction.

The Industry minister further commended the partners, the USAID and the NCBJ for the initiative, noting Jamaica “is going in the right direction.” The Development Credit Authority Loan Portfolio Guarantee Agreement, valued at US$25 Million or JMD$3.4 Billion, will be available to SMEs in Barbados, The Bahamas, The Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago. Businesses with no more than 250 employees and gross annual sales of up to 20 million US dollars or the Jamaican dollar equivalent may access the funds.

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