BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, February 28, 2019 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Today (Thursday, February 28), the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis signed an agreement with the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) for the disbursement of concessional funding, through the Development of St. Kitts and Nevis, specifically for the benefit of small and medium sized businesses in the Federation.
The loan agreement between the CDF and the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis provides US$3 million in concessional resources to the Development Bank for on-lending to small and medium sized enterprises. The agreement forms part of the Country Assistance Programme (CAP) for St. Kitts and Nevis under the second funding cycle of the CDF, which runs from 2015 to 2020.
CEO of the CARICOM Development Fund, Mr. Rodinald Soomer, stated in his remarks that the purpose of the concessional loan is to provide support to small businesses in the form of improved access to direct financial and technical assistance, promotion of innovation, improvement of efficiency, productive capacity and competitiveness, and ultimately to facilitate growth and job creation opportunities in St. Kitts and Nevis.
He added, “As in the case of the first agreement that we signed, we expect that the funding will go towards small and medium sized enterprises across a number of sectors including light manufacturing, agriculture and agri-business, infrastructure, green projects, with a focus on sustainable energy initiatives, tourism, and with a special emphasis on youth and women start-up businesses where these are deemed to be viable.”
Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Development Bank, Mr. Warren Thompson, welcomed the concessional funding provided by the CDF, and noted, “This will help small businesses continue to grow and so it is very important, and certainly we are happy to be a part of it at the Development Bank where we will be making sure that the funds are distributed to the different sectors that were highlighted.”
Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, who is the current Chairman of CARICOM, commended the CDF for its contribution and support of people-sensitize programmes in the twin island Federation.
The prime minister stated that small businesses traditionally face certain difficulties when trying to access funding through the formal commercial banking sector, and as such encouraged persons in St. Kitts and Nevis to take full advantage of this opportunity.
“We are hoping that as we work through this that the beneficiaries and the potential target groups across a wide range of sectors will find that this programme is easier in terms of the terms and more facilitating to their ability to access funding. Access to funding has been identified repeatedly as one of the main challenges to small businesses,” Prime Minister Harris stated.
The second component of Cycle 2 of the Country Assistance Programme is the further Enhancement of Frigate Bay to the tune of US$1.33 million. The agreement for that component was signed on February 12, 2019.
To date, the CDF has made US$8.94 million in financing available to St. Kitts and Nevis over two cycles, starting in May 2012 when the first financing agreements were signed.
Photo: St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris accepts signed agreement from CEO of the CARICOM Development Fund, Mr. Rodinald Soomer. Also present are Mr. Lenworth Harris, General Manager of the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis (left); Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Development Bank, Mr. Warren Thompson (2nd right), and Mr. Andrew Skerritt, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister.
Photo 2: Shows Prime Minister Harris signing the CDF loan agreement on behalf of the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis.