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The agro-processing sector accounted for 30 per cent of the total loans disbursed by the National Export Import (Ex-Im) Bank of Jamaica during the 2008/09 financial year.
This amounted to some $1.96 billion, and was the highest category of loans disbursed.
The distribution and services sector accounted for $1.92 billion, while manufacturing followed with $1.54 billion. The food and beverage, and mining sectors accounted for $1 billion and $118.9 million, respectively. “All sectors compared favourably to the prior period, with the exception of the manufacturing sector, which fell by $32.75 million when compared with the previous year’s performance,” the annual report for the period outlined.
As it relates to foreign currency loans, there was strong demand for these in the manufacturing and productive sectors, with disbursement totalling US$33.83 million. This was an increase of 20 per cent or US$5.63 million over the 2007/08 period. According to the report, which was tabled recently in the House by Finance and the Public Service Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, the growth under the Bank’s foreign credit line was largely attributed to additional disbursements to facilitate the importation of raw materials, spare parts and capital goods for the productive sector.
Meanwhile, local currency loans utilised under short and medium term financing facilities exceeded the previous year’s performance by 34.6 per cent and 28.4 per cent, respectively. “Notably, disbursement under the Bankers’ Export Credit Facility (offered through Approved Financial Intermediaries), increased by 195. 4 per cent, moving from $175.71 million at March 31, 2008 to $519.01 million at the end of 2008/09,” the report revealed.
The Ex-Im Bank also recorded significant growth in disbursement under the Jamaica Exporters’ Association/Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association Loan Programme, which provided unsecured funding to small and medium sized companies involved in the productive sector, which would have otherwise found it difficult to secure such loans from the commercial banks. Loans disbursed under this facility totaled $24.33 million, reflecting an increase of 77.6 per cent over the previous year’s disbursements of $13.7 million.

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