KINGSTON, Jamaica - The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) on Thursday, August 11, unveiled two loan facilities valued at $700 million, to benefit entertainment and transport industry stakeholders whose livelihoods have been impacted by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a release on Friday, a sum of $500 million is earmarked for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) under the Entertainment Restart Loan Facility, while $200 million has been provided for public passenger vehicle (PPV) operators.
The funds will be provided through the DBJ’s microfinance institutions and approved financial institutions.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, who addressed the DBJ Entertainment and Transport Sector Loans launch, said that the “dedicated loan facility to persons who operate at all levels of the entertainment industry will allow those who are not yet back on their feet to have access to financing to go on the road again”.
Already, various individuals and entities that operate in entertainment have benefited from grant support to assist their recovery.
As it relates to the loan provision for transport operators, Minister Clarke noted that “this can be used to make your business more attractive to customers”.
He said that the interventions “must be seen as the Government putting its money where its mouth is and stepping up and providing support”.
“So, the Government is responding to the people of Jamaica and leading the recovery from the pandemic in a way that is inclusive and making sure that financing, which is the oxygen of business, is available to all who have been affected,” he added.
In his remarks, DBJ Managing Director Anthony Shaw said the provision of the loans is in keeping with the entity’s mandate to assist MSME operators in their recovery efforts.
“Our joint objective [with the Government] is to assist the smallest operators in the private sector… to bounce back from the lingering effects of the pandemic and become more sustainable,” he pointed out.
In his 2022/23 Budget Debate presentation in March, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that the DBJ would be establishing the entertainment loan facility.
It will benefit micro-entrepreneurs such as food vendors, bar owners, party promoters, clothes vendors, and persons who ply their wares at entertainment events, among other beneficiaries.
Small and medium-sized enterprises earmarked for assistance include caterers; décor, lighting, printing, and transport companies; restaurants; and clothing stores.