$2m in loans taken so far

UK Barbados Nation - - NEWS - By Ryan Gilkes [email protected]­com­net­work.net

A MONTH af­ter the Trust Loan Fund was of­fi­cially launched, Min­is­ter of Small Busi­ness, En­trepreneur­ship and Com­merce Dwight Suther­land is re­port­ing favourable buy-in to the pro­gramme.

“We’ve had close to 1 000 loans and have nearly ex­hausted the first $2 mil­lion of the fund. Mon­day morn­ing at the of­fice around 8:15, we had 45 peo­ple wait­ing for loans to be pro­cessed,” he said.

The set­ting up of the fund was one of the prom­ises made by the Bar­ba­dos Labour

Party (BLP) dur­ing the last Gen­eral Elec­tion.

The loan fa­cil­ity, which is sep­a­rate from the Govern­ment’s Fund Ac­cess, pro­vides un­se­cured loans at a very min­i­mal in­ter­est rate and amounts of up to $5 000 will be loaned to per­sons in the first in­stance, and re­pay­ment will fa­cil­i­tate ac­cess to an­other $10 000. Govern­ment will pro­vide

$10 mil­lion per year for each of the next five years to seed the pro­gramme.

Crit­i­cal area

“This has been one of the ar­eas that the Govern­ment saw as crit­i­cal to build out the lo­cal econ­omy from the bot­tom up. We have now given small busi­nesses the op­por­tu­ni­ties they would not have had with­out this ini­tia­tive to ac­cess start-up cap­i­tal for their busi­nesses.

“These range for nail tech­ni­cian, me­chan­ics to shop­keep­ers, a wide range of ser­vices with ac­cess to these loans, and it doesn’t end there. There is the Fi­nan­cial Lit­er­acy Bureau, which is pro­vid­ing the nec­es­sary sup­port in terms of train­ing, teach­ing peo­ple how to man­age their fi­nances,” Suther­land said, adding that it was nec­es­sary to pro­vide the sup­port so busi­nesses did not fail, along with train­ing in a num­ber of ar­eas.

He also re­vealed that re­trenched work­ers were com­ing for­ward to ac­cess the loan, but did not give fig­ures.

“They have been given pri­or­ity be­cause we recog­nise a num­ber of them need the op­por­tu­nity to have a busi­ness and con­tinue earn­ing the in­come that they would have been mak­ing be­fore they would have been dis­placed through the re­trench­ment pro­gramme.

“We have been very amenable with re­spect to the loan fa­cil­ity to those work­ers who would have been re­trenched and quite a few have ac­cessed the loans,” the min­is­ter said.

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