MSME Owners Encouraged to Keep Records

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, is encouraging micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) owners, especially farmers, to keep records of their business activities, so they can have better access to loans and other capital they need for growth.
  • Speaking at the Ministry’s CEO Breakfast Forum held at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, in New Kingston on May 2, Mr. Shaw said since he was appointed the new Minister in March, he has identified that one of the restrictions to farmers and other MSMEs getting access to loans, involves them not having records and business plans in documented formats.
  • “The small and medium enterprises must recognise that they too have a duty and a responsibility to become formal, and the policies that the Government is driving, and will be driving, is that ‘get formal, get transparent, write a business plan, do the things required of a formal business’, and you will be in a position to access money at much more competitive interest rates, including single-digit interest rates,” Mr. Shaw said.

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, is encouraging micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) owners, especially farmers, to keep records of their business activities, so they can have better access to loans and other capital they need for growth.

Speaking at the Ministry’s CEO Breakfast Forum held at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, in New Kingston on May 2, Mr. Shaw said since he was appointed the new Minister in March, he has identified that one of the restrictions to farmers and other MSMEs getting access to loans, involves them not having records and business plans in documented formats.

“The small and medium enterprises must recognise that they too have a duty and a responsibility to become formal, and the policies that the Government is driving, and will be driving, is that ‘get formal, get transparent, write a business plan, do the things required of a formal business’, and you will be in a position to access money at much more competitive interest rates, including single-digit interest rates,” Mr. Shaw said.

He pointed out that some financial organisations at the Forum are willing to assist needy MSMEs and farmers; however, potential borrowers are often sidelined because they do not have proper documentation to prove that they can repay and are qualified.

“The context is that despite the MSME sector being by far the largest number of businesses in the country, we’re only able to attract about 18 per cent of the formal credit,” he said.

Mr. Shaw said that with more microenterprise operators having access to loans, this would result in a reduction in the interest rates on loans that are currently being offered in the market, based on economies of scale.

“The sector has been accessing money on terms and conditions that militate against competitiveness, productivity [and] the ability to penetrate export markets on a real viable basis,” the Minister said.

Mr. Shaw reiterated that the Government’s primary role is to create an enabling environment that facilitates private-sector investment and production.

Meanwhile, Managing Director, Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), Milverton Reynolds, agreed with Mr. Shaw, and emphasised that his organisation is willing to lend money to members of the MSMEs.

“It’s not just the entire private sector that requires this focus (of having proper documentation), but, specifically, the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, and so with that recognition, we at the DBJ over the last several years, have modified our approach and we have had to reorganise the way we do things to focus more on the MSME sector,” Mr. Reynolds said. in his address.

He added that the DBJ wants to leave no sector or social group out of its policies and programmes, so not only is the bank focusing on MSMEs but it is also providing products for businesses at every stage of the business life cycle, specifically capital programmes.

“No matter the size and level of the business, the DBJ can assist. From our low-interest loans to our collateral support programme, to capacity development support, right through to supply chains, we have a product or service for your company,” he said.

For her part, CEO of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Valerie Veira, said her organisation is willing to guide persons from the MSMEs on how to plan properly and complete the required documentation, as this “sector is the backbone of every country’s economic development”.

The Forum was held in partnership with the OAS and the JBDC.

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