JIS News

President of the Small Business Association of Jamaica, Edward Chin Mook, has lauded the measures introduced by Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, to assist the small business sector, during the current financial crisis, noting that they will make a big difference to the industry.
The initiatives, which the Prime Minister announced in his address to the nation on Sunday (Dec. 14), include a $350 million allocation by the Development Bank of Jamaica, through the Jamaica National Small Business Loans Limited, to provide funds for lending to small businesses and micro-enterprises.
This is in addition to $150 million to the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), for on-lending at 10 per cent to small businesses and micro-enterprises that are unable to meet the full collateral requirements for conventional loans, and another $150 million that will be provided at similar rates through designated credit unions. These measures, Mr. Chin Mook told JIS News, “present themselves as means to finance the entrepreneurial spirit.”
He further commended the initiative to mandate Government agencies to reserve at least 15 per cent of their total procurement for small business and micro-enterprise suppliers, noting that this method has been used “with great effect” in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and other developed countries around the world.
He said that for this procurement policy to work, “it has to be something which the public sector embraces, not just in a frivolous way, but really to move businesses forward.”
The Prime Minister also announced that as at January 1, only businesses with annual sales of more than $3 million will be subject to General Consumption Tax (GCT) requirements, and Mr. Chin Mook, who has commended this move, also suggested additional measures such as “the simplification of statutory payments, and lengthening the time of payments, so they (small businesses) wouldn’t have to pay every month”.
“That would basically allow more small businesses to go the route of formalising and being able to take up these procurement contracts that will be available,” he stated.
Currently, all businesses with annual sales above $1 million are required to register under the GCT and submit monthly returns.
Mr. Chin Mook encouraged small business owners to take advantage of the measures. He noted that while the Government “would have liked to have given more to the sector, in terms of grants, the situation as it is…is more a situation where you teach a man to fish, you feed him for life.”

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