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Finance and Public Service Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, has announced Cabinet’s signing off on a discussion paper that will help to lay the groundwork for a review of the collateral lending framework for micro-financing.
The move, he contends, comes against the background of the administration’s cognizance of the role which micro and small businesses, and micro-financing play in moving Jamaica’s productivity and production levels forward, and the challenges stakeholders experience in accessing money.
Addressing the launch of the Jamaica Microfinancing Association Limited (JaMFA), at the Knutsford Court Hotel, in St. Andrew, on October 28, Mr. Shaw argued that Jamaica’s advancement would not hinge solely on the country securing “a raft of big investments coming from abroad, but rather, on the extent to which individuals are able to carve out opportunities that exist.”
“So within that context, we have been seeing a lot of initiatives demonstrated, and there is a call now for support, and within that context is the acknowledged and recognised need for regulation. I have already given my Ministry instructions to work with all the relevant agencies, to look at precisely the kind of appropriate environment that can allow the micro-financing industry to flourish,” the Minister said.
“But it has to flourish within an orderly framework… that emphasises fairness and protection for the rights of consumers. Therefore, it implies that a review of the collateral framework for lending is a part of that challenge,” he added.
Commenting on the suspension of the Joint Parliamentary Committee meetings to review the Credit Reporting Act, Mr. Shaw explained that this resulted from a need to reconcile the positions of the Attorney General’s Department, the Chief Parliamentary Counsel and the Bank of Jamaica (BoJ).
“That reconciliation has been done and it’s now before me. It’s only for me to circulate that advisory to the members and to get all the things going again, so that we can expedite the promulgation of the Credit Reporting Act,” he informed.
Mr. Shaw also underscored the need for passage of the Financial Investigation Division Bill, currently before Parliament, noting that Jamaica operates within an international environment, in which “we have to be mindful of the whole question of traceability and the use of money.”
The JaMFA aims to stimulate and sustain an enhanced microfinance development process, to facilitate capacity building of members and to self-regulate the industry, while guiding the sector to become a key player in Jamaica’s economic transformation.

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