JIS News

The Micro Enterprise Development Agency (MIDA) is to make some $400 million in credit available over the next three years to the micro enterprise sector, through a network of community development funds.
Making the disclosure during her contribution to the 2005/06 Sectoral Debate in Gordon House yesterday (May 24) Industry and Tourism Minister, Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, said the line of credit would finance approximately 3,740 micro businesses to sustain and generate full and part-time employment for approximately 5,000 persons.
She noted that the loan facility provided by MIDA, was just one of several avenues for funding small enterprises, in the government’s thrust to accelerate positive economic growth by providing high quality jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for citizens.
In the meantime, Mrs. Assamba said the Self Start Fund continued to make an important contribution to expanding business ownership and encouraging entrepreneurial activity in the small and micro sectors, through loan financing. Last year the fund disbursed some $161 million to 1,279 entrepreneurs creating employment for 1,771 persons.
She further informed that under the Entrepreneurial Linkage Project, which is a partnership between the Self Start Fund and tertiary institutions, business students would be trained as Business Development Officers to scout and develop entrepreneurial projects in their communities.
Students will earn graduation points, work experience and income of up to $250,000 per annum under the project. The Self Start Fund and the University of Technology will shortly sign a Memorandum of Understanding for a one-year pilot study, towards the implementation of the project.
Mrs. Assamba reported that during 2004, Credit Unions disbursed 2,687 small and micro business loans amounting to more than $434 million, which was 28 per cent more than the amount disbursed in 2003.
Meanwhile, in support of the designation of 2005 by the United Nations as the International Year of Micro Credit, the Jamaican government will host a symposium in November, to bring together a wide cross section of stakeholders to discuss the way forward in expanding the availability and impact of micro credit.
The designation of the year serves to raise the awareness of the importance of micro credit and micro finance in the eradication of poverty, share best practices and further enhance financial sector development that supports sustainable services in all countries.
In the meantime, a team from the European Union (EU) has commended Jamaica for being among the few countries where donor credit schemes have lived beyond the implementation phase. The team visited the island recently to evaluate and report on the progress of EU-sponsored schemes.
Minister Assamba also informed that during the period May 31 through to the end of July, private sector groups including the Small Business Association of Jamaica and the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association, would be invited to submit proposals for assistance under the Government of Jamaica /EU funded Private Sector Development Programme, which has been boosted by the provision of some 28.7 million Euros.

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