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Gov't signs $2.56b agreement with IDB

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica —The Government, through the Credit Enhancement Fund (CEF), today signed a US$20-million (J$2.56 billon) agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank, which will provide funds to Micro Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (MSME) through the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ).

According to a release from the Finance Ministry, portfolio Minister, Audley Shaw reiterated the Government's commitment to providing access to financing to MSMEs.

The minister said micro entrepreneurs are a significant sector that commercial banks have often overlooked; and that is why the CEF is critical, as it provides an opportunity for MSMEs to be able to build their capacity, expand their business ventures and in so doing, create more jobs.

Shaw further stated: “if we are ever to achieve the 5 in 4 plan, or be able to sustain economic growth, we must provide a business environment in which the MSME sector can grow and develop. MSMEs are a critical lynchpin in the economic programme and we cannot continue to overlook the value added and contribution to the Gross Domestic Product that this sector provides”.

The CEF will provide a partial guarantee per individual MSME loan in the amount not exceeding, US$385,000.00; it is also expected to provide coverage of up to 90 per cent of the individual loan for up to 10 years, the ministry said.

It also outlined that individual loan requests in the areas of agriculture, agri-businesses, business services, construction, energy, manufacturing, retail, tourism, trade and distribution, and other activities not included in the IDB's Exclusion List will be eligible for partial guarantees.

Investors who are undertaking expansion projects, the purchase of equipment and machinery and the increase in permanent capital directly related to MSME activity will be able to access the CEF.

Julie Katzman, Executive Vice President with the IDB, noted that the signing of this agreement concretised IDB's commitment to the development of the MSME sector in Jamaica, and congratulated the Government for prioritising the sector as the CEF will enhance the capability several thousands of entrepreneurs to expand their businesses and increase employment.

Jamaica continues to benefit from the over 45-year long relationship with the Inter American Bank (IDB) and through their collaboration several initiatives have impacted Jamaica on a macroeconomic level as well as at the individualised socio-economic level, the ministry said.

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