(Kingston, Jamaica – September 21, 2016) – Tourism and attraction entities across the island, including tourism linkage services providers, will get a major boost with the announcement of a J$1-Billion Tourism SME Loan Programme agreement signed between the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and the EXIM Bank today. The fund which will be managed by the EXIM Bank through special on-lending arrangements, will see varied players in the tourism and hospitality sector benefitting from concessionary loans to fund projects geared towards the sustainable development of the tourism sector. Entities eligible to benefit from the fund include, small properties, restaurants, sports & entertainment establishments, agro-tourism suppliers, and ground transportation companies, among others.
Under the terms of the agreement, eligible operators in the industry can access loans from a minimum amount of J$5-million to a maximum of J$25-million at a fixed rate of interest of only five percent (5%). Loans will be offered at a maximum repayment term of five (5) years with a moratorium option which is set at a maximum period of twelve (12) months on the repayment of the principal sum. Interested applicants must apply directly through the EXIM Bank.
In endorsing the agreement, EXIM Bank’s Managing Director, Mrs. Lisa Bell said: “The signing of this important agreement is yet another tangible demonstration of the EXIM Bank’s commitment to fostering meaningful partnerships with both private and public sector bodies, allowing for the development of customized loan financing options to accelerate growth in the productive sector.” Mrs. Bell added that: “The EXIM Bank will continue to be deliberate in its effort to develop creative and competitively priced solutions that will enable entrepreneurs to take advantage of opportunities to expand existing businesses or launch new ventures to respond to market needs”.
Mrs. Bell also observed that the expected inflow of funds from the Tourism Enhancement Fund will enable the Bank to offer expanded support to SMEs in the Tourism Sector and to contribute to their growth and development in an industry that continues to be a significant revenue earner for the local economy.
The announcement of this new development in the Tourism Sector comes on the heels of another pivotal agreement which was announced recently between the EXIM Bank and the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association involving a similar loan fund which was established to assist small manufacturers to meet their working capital requirements.
The EXIM Bank commenced operations on May 1, 1986 in response to the Government’s stated objective of enhancing the growth and development of Jamaica through an export-led economy. The entity reports to the newly formed Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation in the office of the Prime Minister and is chaired by Mr. Gary ‘Butch’ Hendrickson.