The Ministry of Finance, Citizenship by Investment Unit, and the Agricultural Industrial and Development (AID) Bank have signed an agreement for the establishment of two special loan facilities for the development of the tourism and agricultural sectors, as announced by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Roosevelt Skerrit, in the recently-presented 2016/2017 National Budget.
Through a special loan facility for agriculture, the government has made $10-million available at the AID Bank for on-lending to farmers, primarily to address farmers’ need for working capital, and to allow them access to capital for investment in facilities.
Loans will carry an interest rate of three percent (3%), and farmers will benefit from a grace period of six (6) months.
According to Agriculture Minister, Johnson Drigo, the funds will be used to further support the development and expansion of the pork and poultry sector, as well as the livestock development.
“All are geared to moving towards self-sufficiency, and animal protein, and to reduce our food import bill,” he said, at a signing ceremony, this morning.
Drigo urged farmers to budget wisely, in order to repay their loans promptly.
“Change of behaviour, and change of mindset are required to budget your money wisely, so that you can repay your loans on time,” he stated.
Additionally, $15-million from the proceeds of the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Program will be made available for on-lending to the hotel sector, through the AID Bank, to finance the upgrading and expansion of existing hotels and restaurants.
The interest rate for such loans stands at three percent (3%), with a grace period of one year.
Skerrit stated that the initiative will benefit at least seventeen properties, and will create employment opportunities.
“There’ll be no less than seventeen properties which will benefit from the $15-million… Some of these properties are also expanding, and enhancing their ability to compete, and once they become competitive, we expect them to do much better than they are doing now… and therefore, we will see an opportunity for more sustainable jobs in the economy in our country,” he said.
He went on to describe the terms and conditions of the loans as “exceptional.”
He added that the government is “diligent” and “investment-oriented.”