New loan facility for manufacturers and agro-processors
Johnson Cunningham... they [manufacturers]are challenged by inadequate modern machinery andworking capital. This facility will provide them with amuch-needed hand-up to bolster their productivity

SAGICOR Bank Jamaica (SBJ) has launched a new credit facility to assist medium-sized businesses in the manufacturing and agro-processing sectors.

Sagicor said the credit facility is intended to give players in the sector a well-needed financial boost awhile allowing them to retool and expand their operations.

The manufacturing and agro-processing loan, which is funded with an initial pool of $1 billion, will allow eligible clients to borrow a maximum of $50 million with interest rates as low as 6.5 per cent per annum.

Sagicor Bank's Chief Executive Officer Chorvelle Johnson Cunningham said, “What we've found is that our local manufacturers and agro-processors have shown tremendous resilience, even as they continue to grapple with the economic fallout spawned by the pandemic.”

Johnson Cunningham stated further, “Yet there are still several factors that limit their ability to recover as quickly as they would like to, such as the depreciation in the foreign exchange rate, which in turn drives up their operating costs. Also, they are challenged by inadequate modern machinery and working capital. This facility will provide them with a much-needed hand-up to bolster their productivity.”

She said the facility was created to facilitate these types of Jamaican businesses to position themselves for growth, as the economy begins to recover from the harshest effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Through this offer, Sagicor Bank will assist medium-sized businesses in these industries to obtain funding, thus enhancing more operational efficiency, export expansion possibilities, retooling, and import substitution,” Johnson Cunningham said.

The facility, which is to come on stream on February 1, 2022, will allow borrowers up to 12 years to repay each loan.

Johnson Cunningham noted that small manufacturing and agro-processing firms have been working to increase their performance since the beginning of the novel coronavirus pandemic, despite the economic challenges caused. She said the manufacturing sector, in particular, is one of the few industries that created export opportunities during COVID-19.

The CEO noted that in addition to financing the businesses, Sagicor Bank will also provide technical and analytical support to clients through its relationship managers and Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Business Resource Centre.

“Sagicor Bank is pleased to continue to support and invest in our local entrepreneurs as we strive to create more opportunities for them to maximise their potential for growth both at home and overseas, and in so doing, help to develop Jamaica,” Johnson Cunningham added.

BY ANDREW LAIDLEY Senior business reporter

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