JIS News

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Derrick Kellier has announced that by year end, some $1 billion would be invested in the small business sector from the National Insurance Fund.
This would be done in an effort to enhance small and micro businesses across Jamaica, and at the same time, to make loans available to these entrepreneurs at lower interest rates, he pointed out.
The Minister was addressing staff members at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s Montego Bay office, when he visited yesterday (August 17).
He informed that all the necessary proposals have already been submitted to Cabinet and as soon as the Ministry of Finance and the Attorney General had signed off, the funds would be released.
According to Minister Kellier, the decision to make this investment in the small business sector came about after several studies carried out by local and international experts, pointed to the enormous potential for job creation and economic growth that existed in the micro sector.
“I want to make it very clear that we are taking no chances with the pensioners’ money. This amount is being invested into financial institutions that have proper track records of dealing with such matters and repaying the money. These financial institutions will properly choose individuals to whom they lend and get the necessary securities for the loans. What we are seeking to ensure is that we provide the funds that can be lent at a lower interest rate than current bank rates, in order for the small person to get a reasonable chance to improve his business,” the Minister explained.
“There is no chance being taken with the money; it is not possible to lose it. It is a misconception and misinformation in the public domain. There are safeguards put in place to ensure that this money is not wasted or given away. It will not be directly lent to individuals but lent to institutions that have their own credit arrangements. Institutions such as the Credit Unions, the Self Start Fund, Micro Investment Development Agency (MIDA), and the Agricultural Credit Bank via the National People’s Co-operative Banks (NPCB), to ensure that the farmers get a stake in this investment,” he noted.
Mr. Kellier pointed out that this would assist the National Insurance scheme to broaden its base as all persons that would benefit from the loans, would have to be registered and this would broaden the whole collection process.
“It is important that in the pursuit of the whole poverty alleviation exercise, that we enable the small business sector to be able to access money that is at a reasonable interest rate that they can afford,” the Minister said.

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