The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) has collaborated with the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service to launch the Social and Economic Recovery and Vaccine (SERVE) Jamaica Programme, which aims to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) through the COVID-19 pandemic with up to JM$3 billion in funds.
At the launch yesterday, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance Dr Nigel Clarke shared J$3 billion that through SERVE Jamaica Programme, the DBJ will provide JM$1billion in MSME Go-Digital Loans to support MSMEs’ investment in software and digital technologies that increase their resilience in the COVID-19 environment. In addition, the bank will offer JM$2 billion in MSME Recovery Loans to MSMEs in need of working capital support, refinancing of loans and expansion of credit as they recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“MSMEs are the backbone of the economy; our economic recovery becomes more robust and resilient, and our economy becomes more efficient when our MSMEs integrate digital solutions in their business processes and make strategic investments in projects that enhance their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” the minister said.
MSMEs can access to up to J$800,000 at two per cent under the DBJ Go-Digital Facility. Loans have a tenure of up to three years and interest is calculated on the reducing balance basis. With the loans, MSMEs can enhance their digital capabilities by investing in software and hardware that enable digital transformation, cyber security, and in digital productivity tools and business solutions.
At the same time, DBJ MSME Recovery Loan Facility allows MSMES to access up to J$10M to support recovery efforts from the COVID-19 pandemic. With a tenure of up to eight years, loans carry an interest rate of five per cent and are calculated on the reducing balance basis.
This loan facility can support the reduction of the debt service burden for MSMEs or the investment in capital projects that enable MSMEs to expand or pivot to take on new opportunities.
“The MSME Recovery Loan facility is designed to help MSMEs refinance, get breathing space and recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr Clarke explained.
Both loan facilities can also be used in conjunction with the DBJ Voucher for Technical Assistance Grant of up to J$300,000 for smaller MSMEs towards the cost of other services such as business advisory services, business intelligence software and electronic marketing.
Minister Clarke acknowledged the role of microcredit institutions, credit unions and banks in supporting this initiative and encouraged MSMEs to take advantage of these products as they will be “more accessible, more competitive and more productive,” thus catalysing growth in the Jamaican economy.