The Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica has allocated EC$5 million as part of an agreement with the Dominica Agricultural Industrial (AID) Bank to assist small businesses.
The agreement also makes provision for small business owners impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to apply for small loans with one per cent interest and a 48-hour approval turnaround. With the loans, small business owners can access financial support to adjust their business models and operations in preparation for the imminent return of tourists.
Last week Thursday during the signing ceremony, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit encouraged Dominicans to confidently apply for loans while noting that many will be able to secure their livelihoods.
“These loans can be used for a wide range of business activities,” the prime minister stated.
“The generous terms must also be considered in terms of the repayment period schedule and the grace period for these loans. I am happy to note that the AID Bank will seek to efficiently respond to the applicants, because for many of these applicants time is certainly of the essence and seeing that our country is gradually reopening, it is important for them to reposition themselves so that their business activities can resume… in a very positive manner,” he continued.
Skerrit used the opportunity to also thank the World Bank and the IMF for their valued partnership and prompt support that helped Dominica handle the pandemic well. He disclosed, too, that there is a total of EC$20.7 million income support and small loans facility, with more initiatives being rolled out.
“There are many other interventions that we are making [such as] providing tax rebates to the private sector entities. This is money that belongs to the State but we’re giving it to the private sector to maintain employment levels and so forth. I am very excited for this and I know there are so many people who have been affected by this COVID-19 but help is here,” the prime minister explained.
Skerrit highlighted that while the coronavirus is a new challenge for his country, Dominicans have maintained disciplined and vigilance, and as with other extraordinary challenges before have overcome through resilience and unity.
“I am very, very, very grateful and proud of the behaviour of the public in all of this period. You have been responsive, and you have been disciplined and that has been very helpful in us containing [the spread of the virus]. But we must not be complacent, and we must continue.”