JIS News

Prime Minister Bruce Golding says the small business sector will continue to need government support because the traditional institutions of commerce, banking and financing, still have not reached the stage where they are willing to embrace that sector and to provide the support. ‘Therefore government still has a role which it will have to play through a number of initiatives by the Development Bank of Jamaica and other policy measures,’ he said.
Mr. Golding expressed this view when he addressed yesterday’s (Dec 2 ) press conference put on by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) to announce initiatives to facilitate economic growth and development in the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises sector and to launch the Business Entrepreneurial Empowerment Programme (BEEP) at Jamaica House.
The BEEP project is a joint venture of the MSME Alliance and the Institute of Law and Economics for the provision of entrepreneurial training and business support services to Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME).
Mr. Golding told representatives from the sector that government wanted to get back to its core business of providing a safe environment, enabling policy framework and the conditions to allow private sector to grow the economy. He said a number of institutional arrangements are already being put in place like the credit bureau which will be a powerful means of improving the access of the small business sector to finance.
‘We have introduced legislation to expand the range of collateral offerings that lending institutions can accept, and there are special reservations in government for procurement for the small business sector’, Mr. Golding told the small business operators.
Managing Director of the DBJ, Mr. Milverton Reynolds announced a number of new measures which the bank will be implementing to assist the sector. These include lowering of interest rates, granting of a six-month moratorium and a technical assistance grant of $30M to facilitate improvement in capacity building and institutional enhancement for the agricultural and MSME sectors.
President of the MSME Alliance, Professor Rosalea Hamilton expressed appreciation to the Government and in particular the DBJ for responding positively to the cry for help from the sector. ‘The response can be seen as a pebble in an ocean of needs albeit a significant pebble that can have a ripple effect, with the potential of transforming the economy if the partners continue along the present route’, Prof. Hamilton said.