Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, has said that the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) will make $1 billion available to support micro and small businesses.
Mr. Shaw said that this has become necessary in light of the challenges, relating to the provision of collateral for loan applications, which these sectors are experiencing.
“It is a concern of Government. Not the unavailability of money, but the inability of those who would like to get the money to be able to get it,” he said, as he addressed the official launch of the Jamaica Microfinancing Association Limited (JaMFA), at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston, on Wednesday (October 28).
“There are some windows that are open, and the Development Bank of Jamaica has decided to make more resources available to the micro and small business sector. In fact, the Cabinet recently signed off on a programme (where) $1billion will be made available,” Mr. Shaw said
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw (right), consulting with President of the Micro Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (MSME) Alliance, Dr. Rosalea Hamilton, at the official launch of the Jamaica Microfinancing Association Limited (JaFMAS), at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston, on Wednesday (October 28) at which he was the guest speaker.
He also urged micro and small business stakeholders to engage the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank, in discussions regarding sourcing assistance for their operations.
The Minister said that, arising out of recent talks he had with their principals, the World Bank was keen on working with the small business and micro-finance sectors in Jamaica. He said that the institution was cognisant of the key role which the sector and organisations, such as JaMFA, play in driving Jamaica’s economy.
“They are so keen on it, that they accepted my invitation to establish an office of the IFC in Jamaica, and that was done about a month ago. What I want to, therefore, urge you to do is to go and visit the IFC office. Sit down and talk with them,” he said.
“One of the things that I said I would do as Minister of Finance is that, I was going to establish a fully functional working relationship with all of the multinational institutions, and I have done so. I have opened the doors for you; you (must) walk through the door now and go (and) conduct your business,” Mr. Shaw implored.
The Minister also confirmed that the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), which provides micro and small business loans, was currently in need of further replenishment of funds. He explained that the Corporation had used up funds initially made available to them, and the Cabinet now has to find additional funding.
The Jamaica Microfinancing Association Limited (JaMFA) aims to stimulate and sustain an enhanced microfinance development process, to facilitate members and to self regulate the industry, while guiding the sector to become a key player in Jamaica’s economic transformation.