JIS News

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Karl Samuda, has said that opportunities should be created to propel the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) into becoming profitable organisations, which can create wealth and stability for the country.
“Unless we tap into resources and create the opportunities that are there to move Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises from where they are, so they can create the jobs and grow the economy by creating wealth, and hopefully getting into export so we can earn foreign exchange, we are not going anywhere as a country,” he said.
The Minister was speaking at the Enterprise-wide Risk Management and Financial Programme (ERMFP) sensitisation meeting, held at the Technology Innovation Centre (TIC), at the University of Technology (UTech), in Kingston on July 30.
Mr. Samuda argued that the traditional banking community has failed the micro and small business sectors.
“They have failed the small business sector, primarily because what you have been subjected to is sheer tokenism. You cannot, and I refuse to accept the fact that the best that can be offered to a small business person is a facility of one per cent per week interest rate, on the basis that it is a high risk business,” he argued.
The Minister emphasised that a revision of the system needs to be undertaken, which will ultimately create better opportunities for the sector, as it is of utmost importance to the country.
He also noted that a partnership should be created with the small business person who puts together a proper project and “we are not only going to lend him or her the money, but we are going to devote a certain percentage of the funds that we lend them, to what we call a mandatory training exercise.”
Mr. Samuda lauded the ERMFP for its initiative in seeking to provide concise information to the MSMEs.
He also noted that the programme would enable the micro sector to plan its financial access in a more organized way and would provide services to strengthen the managerial capabilities of those who are borrowing money.
In her remarks, Vice President of Development at UTech, Professor Rosalea Hamilton, said the sector could be classified as an engine and that the programme is used as “a mechanism to rev up the engine of growth for the economy.”
“Very simply, it tries to mitigate and minimise the risk of default, the risk the banks perceived in lending to this sector. We are trying to see if we can mitigate and minimise the risk of default from the perspective of the bank, so we want to give them the kind of analysis and interpretation of your business that can redefine the risks and in turn help the bank, to provide loans and financing that makes sense for you that are not as high with regards to interest rate, that gives you terms and conditions and makes sense to you, with regards to your business,” she said.
The programme is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and managed by the Institute of Law and Economics.