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Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon Audley Shaw, has lauded the National Commercial Bank’s (NCB) decision to introduce a $1 billion loan fund, to support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), as of November.
The Ministry, in a release Friday, said that in correspondence commending the bank on its initiative,earlier this week, Mr. Shaw indicated that he welcomed the new facility, as access to funding continues to pose tremendous challenges to persons wishing to operate small businesses.
Mr. Shaw said that the $1 billion fund, at a rate of 9.0 per cent, has come at an opportune time, and will serve to further stimulate the small business sector.
“This initiative, coming after a similar initiative announced by the Bank of Nova Scotia, underscores the zeal with which our financial institutions are beginning to recognise and embrace opportunities for small business financing,” the release stated.
Mr. Shaw also suggested that, given the Bank of Jamaica’s 450 basis points rate reduction over the past months, there is scope for lending rates in the private sector to become even more competitive.
“This is the time for industrious and innovative Jamaicans to unlock their potential by taking advantage of the funds being made available,” he said.
In light of the fallout in traditional sectors, he urged the SMEs to recognise that they have an important role to play during the current difficult economic period.
“It is imperative that we begin to see small and medium sized businesses as being critical to our economic recovery,” he noted.
The NCB loan facility will be effective between November, 2009 and April, 2010.

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