JIS News

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda, lauded the achievements of the Private Sector Development Programme (PSDP), while opening the 2010/11 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives Tuesday (May 11).
Mr. Samuda noted that the PSDP has participated in over 16,000 business interventions, and facilitated some $363 million in loans to 100 firms since its inception in 2004. He added that the programme’s contribution to the developmental imperatives of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector has been considerable.
“While it is well recognised that more could have been achieved, we can take pride in the fact that we have had interventions islandwide and across all sectors, with the highest number of interventions evident in agri-business, the creative industries, tourism and services,” he stated.
Mr. Samuda informed that over 80 per cent of beneficiaries of PSDP grants and supporting business development services went into micro and small enterprises. He said, although there were some challenges, the programme was able to meet most of its targets in an efficient and exemplary manner.
Access to corporate finance was the greatest challenge. Nevertheless, he said the target of facilitating $363 million in loans to 100 firms has been met. The average loan size was $3.6 million, up from $2.5 million in the second year of the unit’s operation.
“We can point to the overwhelming demand for the PSDP’s services, which were implemented in 12 components and resulted in over 16,000 interventions over the life of the projects,” he went on.
The PSDP was launched in 2004, following an agreement between the Government of Jamaica and the European Union (EU). The primary purpose of the programme was to enhance the competitiveness of MSMEs and strengthen their support institutions.
Mr. Samuda also noted that the Government was fully committed to removing the barriers and improving the environment for competitiveness and growth, in keeping with the Medium Term Socio-Economic Policy Framework (2009-2012).
“What this means, is that we must now find the right formula to take advantage of the opportunities in order to move this country on a path of sustainable growth,” he argued.
He said that, in so doing, strategies must be proactive, and the country must put in place the necessary structures, programmes and policies for its growth and development, and be committed to the “long haul”.
Mr. Samuda said the Government has established a sound foundation on which to build the country, in a much more predictable and sustainable manner. He noted that interest rates are now the lowest they have been for years, the exchange rate has been relatively stable and the business environment is in a state of continuous improvement.
“Our role in this Ministry is to drive production and we will maintain a clear focus on promoting investments and exports, micro, small and medium enterprise development, the application of science and technology, as well as establishing an international financial services centre,” he stated.
Critical to this process are the roles of the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), the Scientific Research Council (SRC) and the Factories Corporation of Jamaica (FCJ), Mr. Samuda said.

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