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JIS News

President of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association, Omar Azan, has welcomed the new US$10 million credit facility that has been secured by the Export Import Bank of Jamaica (EXIM Bank), to assist local importers of goods and raw materials from the United States.
Reacting to the announcement in an interview with JIS News yesterday (Oct. 28), Mr. Azan noted that the development was very timely, while underscoring the fact that the manufacturing sector is critical to national development and that the fraternity had adopted a pro-active role in ensuring that manufacturers were positioned to grow and survive in these very challenging circumstances.
Mr. Azan, who is also a Board member of the EXIM Bank, said that the sector became concerned that the heightening international credit squeeze would negatively impact access of the local productive sector to affordable credit, and in his capacity as a Director at the EXIM Bank, he had initiated the negotiations with the US-based Sovereign Bank.
“It is something that I foresaw when the whole credit crunch started to come about, and although it hadn’t got to a critical level, I saw suppliers tending to want to cut back on the amount of money that was issued on a particular line. I went and presented it to the Government and said, we have to find funding for our local people so that when the actual crunch comes about, funding is available to carry out our manufacturing business, which still employs some 75,000 Jamaicans and we need to look after what we have and try and grow what we have,” Mr. Azan explained.
He noted that an attractive feature of the EXIM Bank facility is the interest rate, which is appreciable below other commercial lending rates. “Normal Commercial Bank rates average some 19 per cent, while EXIM Bank rates are running at 12 per cent. US rates from the EXIM Bank are running at between 7.5 and 10 per cent.we really need to look at financing and this is what has stagnated our growth. Our financing is just not competitive, not just globally, but within our region as well,” he added.