Latest Election News

PNP Floats $150b MSME Insurance Scheme

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Source: Jamaica Gleaner


Image caption: File Crawford

The People’s National Party (PNP) said it has identified funds to create a collateral insurance scheme for up to $150 billion for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) which it would establish should it form the government following next week’s general election.

PNP Vice-President and Chairman of the Manifesto Committee, Damion Crawford, said the funds have been identified in dormant accounts to which the government has access and the party would use that money to insure loans.

“So instead of just lending that money directly, we would use it as an insurance,” he said, noting that it is something in which the Development Bank of Jamaica currently participates as it relates to insuring loans for participants in the agricultural and other sectors, who otherwise are unable to provide collateral to lending institutions.

In its manifesto, portions of which were released last Thursday, the PNP said Jamaicans under 35 years of age will be able to apply for a one-year self-pay grant that provides a basic monthly income while they work on developing a viable business.

Crawford said they have recognised that one of the greatest hindrances to starting one’s own business has been the risk of leaving a job because of household and other expenses.

“What we want to do is give them a basic salary of about $40,000 to $45,000 per month for them to freely pursue entrepreneurial activities, once the idea has been approved by the reviewers as a possible and likely winner,” Crawford said.

The party said that will be covered from a $2-billion fund.

FREE ENERGY AUDIT

Under a PNP government, all high-energy service providers, such as hairdressers, will qualify for a free energy audit to reduce their costs and improve profits, the party said.

It said a PNP government will remove the fees and interests on the annual general consumption tax arrears until the economy recovers from the COVID-19 crisis.

It said microservices and retail entities will qualify for grants and ‘confidence loans’, starting at $250,000 when first borrowed. That can be doubled up to a maximum of $4 million in business loans after the first loan is repaid.

The party said micro entrepreneurs, such as tattoo artists, nail technicians, hairdressers, barbers, masseuses, dressmakers, tailors, fashion designers, shop owners, registered event promoters, registered higglers and market vendors, will be able to access those confidence loans.

To create a digital economy, the PNP said it will upgrade protocols and modernise legislation that will ensure the competitiveness of local businesses and barriers to export.

A PNP government will modernise Customs to better support the growth of businesses and provide an easier process for Jamaicans overall.

New MSMEs will be afforded a tax break for their first five years, similar to that which is accorded to new listings on the junior market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange.

mcpherse.thompson@gleanerjm.com

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