JIS News

The Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank has announced that it has received an initial advance of funds from the National Insurance Fund (NIF), under the loan scheme geared towards small and medium size enterprises for working capital and fixed asset purchases.
The bank will therefore now begin to accept loan applications from eligible borrowers under the NIF loan scheme. Eligible borrowers must be registered small to medium size businesses (sole proprietors, partnerships, incorporated companies) engaged in the areas of light manufacturing, production of services, agro processing and production of craft items. Loans will not be made for retail trading and debt refinancing.
In May last year, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller had announced in her Budget Debate presentation that a $1 billion National Insurance Fund (NIF) revolving credit facility would be established to provide loans to assist small and medium size business enterprises.
Borrowers are required to have a Tax Registration Number (TRN) and a valid Tax Compliance Certificate (TCC), but the TCC is waived for those who are borrowing $2 million or less.
Individual loans are for a maximum of $5 million and the repayment period varies up to a maximum of 4 years, and will attract an interest rate not exceeding 10 per cent per annum on the reducing balance.
In making this announcement, Managing Director of the bank, Pamella McLean said the institution was happy to be able to make a start. “We are expecting to receive an overall total of $100 million from the NIF. It all depends on how quickly we can turn around our request for additional drawdown of funds as the NIF is linking incremental disbursement to each Participating Financial Institution (PFI), based on performance of the individual institution,” she told JIS News.
Mrs. McLean pointed out that because the Ex-Im Bank is required to bear the credit risks on these NIF loans, the bank would exercise flexibility as far as possible, but stressed that all loan applications would be rigorously assessed, projects would be carefully monitored and adequate collateral would be required.
The Ex-Im Bank, which has been in operation for just over 20 years, has a proven track record in lending and for the 2006/07 fiscal year, the bank disbursed a total of $4.5 billion to the local productive and export sector, including the small business sector.
Application forms are available from the Bank’s offices at 48 Duke Street, Kingston or from its website at www.eximbankja.com. Forms can also be obtained from the Small Businesses Association of Jamaica at 2 Trafalgar Road, Kingston 10. The Ex-Im Bank can be contacted for further details at 922 9690 – 9.

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