JIS News

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Audley Shaw, has urged financial lending institutions to become more receptive to the needs of the business sector.
Mr. Shaw urged the institutions to return to the drawing board and rethink their position, warning that they needed to be “receptive and responsive” to stakeholders in the productive sector who are seeking assistance with their enterprises.
“I want the approved lending institutions to take a new approach, (and) to adopt a new attitude. The spreads that are being asked for by some of our financial institutions, are spreads that are not available anywhere else in the world,” the Minister said.
“They are calling for spreads, and they are using all kinds of spurious reasons and excuses for those spreads, while those who would dare to invest languish in frustration and despair. We have got to get serious (about changing these),” the Finance Minister implored.
Mr. Shaw also lamented the criteria for loan applications and approvals, which financial institutions are imposing on applicants. He advocated changing the regime to make the process more accommodating.
He was speaking at the launch of the FINPYME company competitiveness programme at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston on Monday (Mar. 2).
Mr. Shaw took issue with applicants having to wait for as much as one year for loan approvals, during which time they secure “bridging loan” at expensive interest rates. He said that scenario was untenable.
He noted that approximately $5 billion has been made available by the government to the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), the Export/Import (EXIM) Bank, and other institutions for on lending to the private sector, through approved financial institutions, to be invested in the productive sector.
“We have over J$5 billion right now that needs to go out, at the instruction and the dictate of the government, that must get into the hands of the private sector for investment in production, and it is not moving. We have to get to that production culture,” he remarked.
Mr. Shaw said that the approved lending institutions needed to help the government “rev up” the spirit of entrepreneurship.
“They are not to hold it back, they are not to suppress it, they are not to hold it back with bureaucracy,” he said.
“We have a lot of assets (and) opportunities in this country. Our job, now, is to find and sow that seed, nurture the seedling, and reap those benefits, together,” Mr. Shaw implored.
The FINPYME, an innovative diagnostic review initiative of the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC), an arm of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), is designed to empower small and medium-sized enterprises by providing them with the tools necessary to become more competitive, thereby enhancing their access to potential sources of funding.

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