Tue | Jul 27, 2021

$600 million support for MSMEs

Published:Thursday | May 13, 2021 | 12:06 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Audley Shaw making his presentation to the Sectoral Debates in Parliament on Tuesday.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Audley Shaw making his presentation to the Sectoral Debates in Parliament on Tuesday.

Some $600 million will be pumped into the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank to enable micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to access affordable financing.

This was announced by Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Audley Shaw while making his contribution to the Sectoral Debate on Tuesday as he declared the sector was in recovery mode.

Just over $200 million will be immediately transferred as a result of the closure of MIDA, and a further $400 million will be made available later this year.

“We are recovering faster and stronger. Additionally, during the financial year, the EXIM Bank plans to on-lend approximately $5.5 billion to the productive sector. The mandate given to the EXIM Bank is to ensure that these funds are made available to support greater access to finance and to improve export performance,” Shaw said.

Over the last fiscal year, the EXIM Bank disbursed 444 loans valued at approximately $4.5 billion to some 100 MSMEs, many of them reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

SAVING BUSINESSES

Furthermore, over 60 of EXIM’s clients were provided with the opportunity to save their businesses through loan restructurings and payment holidays to the tune of $973 million, Shaw disclosed.

The minister stated that the recovery of the whole economy will be tied to the growth of MSMEs.

Shaw further disclosed that for this fiscal year, 74 procurement opportunities valued at $292 million, for contracts under $15 million, have been identified for implementation under the pilot project of the 20 per cent Set Aside regime for MSMEs under the Public Procurement Act.

Shaw reported to Parliament that 22 per cent of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation clients temporarily closed their operations because some have seen up to a 34 per cent decline in sales.

In response to the closures, Shaw announced that $1 billion will be used to implement a ‘Go Digital’ platform to help boost e-commerce.