JIS News

The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) registered improved performance in 2003/04, evidenced by increases in loan approvals and disbursements.At the end of March 2004, approvals for foreign and domestic currency loans totalled $3,035 million, compared to $1,631 million for the previous year.
This represented portfolio increases of $287.28 million or 27 per cent in local currency loans, and US$17.57 million or 173 per cent in foreign currency loans.
The information is set out in the DBJ’s annual report and audited financial statements for the 2003 and 2004 financial years, which were tabled in the House of Representatives this week as Ministry Paper Number 67.
Loan approvals through the People’s Co-operative (P-C) Banks registered a decline of 61 per cent, when compared to $102 million approved in the previous period. The reduction, the report said, was due to a rationalisation exercise that was undertaken within the P-C Bank structure, alongside an internal audit debt management restructuring policy to curtail the level of delinquency.
Meanwhile, loans provided by the bank through approved financial institutions were on-lent at rates of between 6.5 per cent and 15 per cent with total funds disbursed by the bank amounting to $1,946.5 million or 47 per cent above the 2002/03 financial year. Of note was the fact that foreign currency disbursements totalled US$10.6 million, a significant increase when compared to US$0.972 million disbursed in the 2002/03 fiscal year.
During the year under review, the tourism, agricultural and manufacturing sectors received substantial financing amounting to $1,558.2 million or 80 per cent of the total sum disbursed, the report noted. Major financing was obtained from the National Housing Trust, the National Commercial Bank and the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund. Total funding accessed during the period amounted to $3,415 million, resulting in a total loan portfolio of $8,421 million.
According to the report, the overall performance of the DBJ was “satisfactory as the Bank achieved financial and operational successes during the periods under review. The successes were evidence by the actual improvements in the asset base, net profitability, and net worth over the period”.
It further concluded that the DBJ “continued to support all initiatives aimed at increasing employment generation and foreign exchange earnings in the Jamaican economy. The Bank also supported infrastructural development, including the government’s road rehabilitation programme, which is considered a critical precondition, not only for economic growth and development, but also for social development”.
The DBJ was formed from the merger of the Agricultural Credit Bank of Jamaica and the National Development Bank of Jamaica in 2002 and has maintained its programme of lending activities, with special emphasis on development projects, which have the potential to generate foreign exchange.