JIS News

Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce, Senator Kern Spencer has said that Jamaicans needed to explore all the available opportunities within the micro and small business sector, as this area is at the heart of economic growth.
The State Minister, who was speaking today (August 22), at a luncheon of the Rotary Club of St. Andrew, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, noted that financing was a major constraint to the growth of the sector.
He noted, however, that financial assistance was available from selected credit institutions, which disbursed some $2.2 billion to entrepreneurs in 2005/06. In 2006/07, more than $2.8 billion is expected to be disbursed, which is a 27 per cent increase, in comparison to the previous year, Mr. Spencer said.
The State Minister cited the Jamaica National Micro Credit Limited, the Credit Unions, Development Bank of Jamaica, Scotia Bank Micro Enterprise Financing Limited, Access Financial Services, Ex-Im Bank, Micro Investment Development Agency (MIDA), and Community Development Funds (CDFS), as institutions that provide loans to persons within the small, micro and medium enterprise sectors.
“The sectors will also have access to an addition of $1 billion of new financing from the National Insurance Fund, of which $250 million will be made available to rural farmers,” Senator Spencer said.
Meanwhile, he highlighted of the work of the Scientific Research Council (SRC), and noted that this was an indication that profitable enterprises could be developed in the areas of agro-business and in the creation of waste to energy.
“Agro processing is in fact one of the sectors that is vital to rural development and one in which the introduction of technology can enhance business competitiveness,” he informed.
Senator Spencer noted that the SRC has launched several new value added processed food products, including an ackee spread, ackee cheese, ackee and salt fish, mannish water, as well as minimally processed yellow yam, green banana and sweet potato.
The State Minister said that other opportunities could be developed in the area of industrial minerals, such as limestone, marble and clay and alternate sources of energy.

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