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Information Minister, Senator Burchell Whiteman has disclosed that Cabinet has given the go-ahead for the National Insurance Fund (NIF) to lend $50 million to the National Development Foundation of Jamaica (NDFJ), to support the Foundation’s small enterprise development programme.
Minister Whiteman, who was speaking to journalists at the weekly post Cabinet press briefing today (February 21), at Jamaica House, said the $50 million loan to the NDFJ was necessary, as the Foundation indicated that it had been presented with a number of viable projects for financing but was unable to meet all of them from its resources.
He explained that the NDFJ has “therefore approached the NIF .for support to enable them to satisfy more of their client demands”.
Providing details of the terms of the loan agreement, the Minister said the loan period would be for six years and would be disbursed in two tranches of $25 million. The interest rate negotiated and agreed would be a maximum of 14.5 per cent per annum.
The NDFJ has been in existence for some 26 years and was created to support small enterprises by providing them with loans as well as technical support, in terms of the management of small businesses.
The Minister said the Foundation has frequently refinanced its operations by borrowing from larger enterprises and lending to its applicants.Prior to its new loan agreement, the NDFJ had borrowed $10 million from the NIF in June 1993. That loan, calculated at 15 per cent per annum for 10 years, was satisfactorily serviced and the final repayment was made in December 2003.