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Business Monday: Regional governments urged to give private sector more support
BARBADOS and other governments in the Caribbean need to provide greater support to the private sector as the main engine of economic growth.
This piece of advice is coming from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), which itself is reiterating its support to the business community.
The Bank in its 2011 report said that current challenges now being faced by its Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) in relation to fiscal and debt management issues have signalled a need for greater support to the private sector.
The CDB maintained that private sector development is an integral component of the Bank’s strategy for promoting broad-based economic growth, inclusive of social development and reducing poverty in the BMCs.
Accordingly, CDB said its interventions to facilitate private sector development are focused on:
• Targeting key economic sectors by lending primarily through financial intermediaries and by limited direct lending;
• The provision of technical assistance to facilitate the creation of an enabling environment for private sector enterprises, including initiatives aimed at improving corporate governance; and
• The provision of technical assistance at the enterprise level for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises through the Caribbean Technological Consul-tancy Services Network.
The report highlights the CDB’s initiatives in the area of private sector assistance in 2011. The CDB approved a loan of Bds$10 million to the St. Lucia Development Bank for enhanced credit access to priority areas and sectors including student loans, small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) financing and for mortgage finance purposes as what was done during last year. The loan provides for an allocation of Bds$2 million for student loans, targeting students from poor and vulnerable households. Three million (Bds) dollars will be used to provide critical inputs for agricultural diversification, while a similar amount will go towards micro and small enterprises.
During 2011, the CDB disbursed Bds$60 million to 12 financial intermediaries and continued monitoring and the supervision of existing lines of credits and investment loans.
While 52 per cent of the loans disbursed were targeted at student education, the other 48 per cent were for consolidated lines of credit to assist in providing financing to SMEs. (JB)