Sat | Apr 20, 2019

Technical consultants to be engaged as Shaw pushes for dormant funds

Published:Friday | April 20, 2018 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines/Gleaner Writer

Industry and Commerce Minister Audley Shaw has disclosed that the Government is now in the process of engaging technical consultants to assess the feasibility of utilising unclaimed funds held by financial institutions as a financing option for the development of the medium, small and micro enterprises (MSMEs) sector.

In his keynote address during the opening ceremony for the 46th staging of Expo Jamaica at the National Indoor Sports Centre last night, Shaw declared that he has charged the ministry to accelerate work on the subject so that manufacturers and small businesses may access funds at four to five per cent interest rate from the source.

"The international average of unclaimed funds, before they return to Government is seven years. In most of the states of the United States the period is even less. It's five years. In Jamaica it is 15 years, and our banks have demonstrated a consistent propensity to deplete those accounts as much as possible before it gets to the hands of the Government," Shaw asserted. Speaking on the issue last year, he revealed that dormant accounts totalled approximately $45 billion.

Meanwhile, the heads of the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association (JMA) and the Jamaica Exporters' Association (JEA) jointly announced that both entities had merged to form the Jamaica Manufacturers' and Exporters' Association (JMEA). Outgoing JMA president Metry Seaga reasoned that the amalgamation was in the interest of national development and would provide efficient and effective service to the manufacturing and exporting community.