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TEF provides additional $350M for Exim Bank Loan Facility

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#Jamaica, September 4, 2017 – Kingston – The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has allocated an additional $350 million to the National Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of Jamaica to continue the provision of loans to the operators of small and medium-sized tourism enterprises (SMTEs).

The allocation represents the second tranche of the $1-billion TEF/EXIM Bank Jamaica loan facility, which was launched in September 2016 with an initial $300 million capital injection by the tourism entity.    The facility enables the industry stakeholders to access between $5 million and $25 million at five per cent interest for five years.

Among those eligible are operators involved in spa and wellness; gastronomy – restaurants and food-related businesses; small accommodations; shopping and galleries; attractions; knowledge networks; and sports and entertainment as well as manufacturers and suppliers.

Speaking at the official handover at the Tourism Ministry in New Kingston on Wednesday, August 30, Portfolio Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said the loan facility was a critical financial lifeline that had allowed and would enable more sector stakeholders to create jobs, generate growth and facilitate economic well-being.

Additionally, he said it represented the Government’s acknowledgement of the entities’ integral role in the tourism value chain.

“The idea was born out of the need to build capacity within the sector and provide financial support to enterprises that would better enable them to capitalise on business opportunities to better participate in the supply chain of the sector,” the Minister said.

Mr. Bartlett advised that the first tranche of the loan facility has been fully disbursed, and encouraged other entrepreneurs not yet accessing the provision to take advantage of it to grow their businesses.

EXIM Bank Managing Director, Lisa Bell, disclosed that the entity has, to date, processed more than 28 loan applications totalling $509 million under the programme. She said applications totalling $408 million have been approved, with disbursements totalling $311 million.

The applications processed for approval fall in the categories of: attractions – $84.5 million; small accommodations – $105 million; gastronomy – $25 million; linkages – $32 million; shopping networks – $30 million; manufacturing – $47.5 million; services – $48.4 million; spa and wellness – $12. 5 million; and domestic tours and car rentals – $125 million.

“We are very pleased about that, because we knew this programme could be revolutionary, not only because of its attractive terms and conditions but it really would put funding into the hands of those who needed it,” Mrs. Bell said.

She further noted that the Bank has received an additional 25 qualified expressions of interest totaling approximately $470 million.

In 2015, the World Bank noted that formal SMTEs contribute up to 60 per cent of total employment and up to 40 per of national income in emerging economies.

In the Caribbean, these enterprises contribute more than 90 per cent of employment and 70 per cent of the gross domestic product.

For more information on the loan facility, persons may call the EXIM Bank at (876) 630-1400 to make an appointment; visit its offices at 85 Hope Road, Kingston 6; or website at www.eximbankja.com.

 

 

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Caribbean News

Construction Industry Continues to Grow

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#Jamaica, November 27, 2021 – The Construction industry continues to figure in Jamaica’s gradual recovery from the economic fallout precipitated by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The sector is estimated to have grown by 1.7 per cent during the July to September 2021 quarter, relative to the corresponding period last year, and contributed to the Goods Producing Industry’s 2.8 per cent expansion over the three months.

Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Wayne Henry, said the out-turn for construction was spurred by growth in the ‘Other Construction’ and ‘Building Construction’ components.  This, he added, reflected a 5.6 per cent increase in sales of construction and related inputs.

The Director General was speaking during the PIOJ’s digital quarterly media briefing, on Wednesday (November 24).

Dr. Henry said growth in the ‘Other Construction’ component resulted from increased capital expenditure on civil engineering activities during the review period  This was mainly reflected in the National Works Agency’s (NWA) disbursement of $9.1 billion, up from $5.1 billion in the corresponding quarter of 2020.

The Director General said the provision largely covered work on the Yallahs to Harbour View leg of the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project (SCHIP).  Additionally, Dr. Henry said the National Road Operating and Constructing Company Limited (NROCC) disbursed $2.2 billion, as against $1.3 billion in 2020.

“Expenditure facilitated works on the SCHIP Part ‘A’; that is, the May Pen in Clarendon to Williamsfield in Manchester component,” he told journalists.

Dr. Henry indicated that growth in the ‘Building Construction’ component was driven mainly by the performance of the non-residential category.  This, he said, reflected hotel construction and renovation activities, as well as the buildout of commercial office space.

The economy is estimated to have grown by an overall 6.3 per cent during the July to September 2021 quarter, with the Service Industry recording 7.3 per cent and the Goods Producing Industry 2.8 per cent.

 

Contact: Douglas McIntosh

JIS

 

 

 

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Caribbean News

SOEs To End This Weekend

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#Jamaica, November 27, 2021 – The States of Public Emergency (SOEs) now in place in seven police divisions across the island will expire on Saturday (27 November).   This, after two resolutions to extend the SOEs until February 12, 2022, failed to get the required number of votes in the Senate, following a marathon sitting on Thursday (November 25).

The resolutions are the Emergency Powers (Parishes of St. James, Westmoreland, and Hanover) (Continuance) Resolution, 2021, and the Emergency Powers (Specified Areas in the Parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew) (Continuance) Resolution, 2021.

These apply to St. Andrew South, Kingston West, Kingston Central, and Kingston East in the Corporate Area, and St. James, Hanover, and Westmoreland.

Opposition Senators voted to end the enhanced security measures, which were announced by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness on November 14.

Thirteen senators voted to extend the measures; three voted against it; and five members were absent. The extension of emergency powers must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the Upper House.

The resolutions, which were approved in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (November 23), needed one vote from an Opposition Senator to be approved.

Leader of Government Business in the Senate and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, expressed disappointment that the resolutions were not approved, noting that “it’s a sad day for the people of Jamaica and, in particular, it is a sad day for the people who live in the communities covered by the seven divisions of the SOEs.

“We convey our apologies to the security forces who recommended and have been utilising the space and who had hoped that the debate today would rise to the level of reason and regard for the professional advice given and the realities on the ground,” she said.

“I only regret that as Leader of Government Business, that this Senate has not delivered a better result to the people of Jamaica today,” she added.

President of the Senate, Senator the Hon. Tom Tavares-Finson also voiced his disappointment with the result of the vote.

The resolutions were moved by Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of National Security, Senator the Hon. Matthew Samuda.

 

Contact: Alecia Smith

JIS

Photo Captions: 

Header: President of the Senate, Hon Tom Tavares-Finson, disappointed with the outcome of the vote to extend the States of Emergency in seven police divisions. Two resolutions were moved for extension of the SOEs but they failed to get the required two-thirds majority for approval.  Photo: Rudranrath Fraser

1st insert: Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of National Security, Senator the Hon. Matthew Samuda, moved the resolutions to extend States of Emergency in seven police divisions. The resolutions did not get the approval of the house.  Photo: Rudranrath Fraser

2nd insert: Leader of Government Business in the Senate and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, expressed disappointment that the resolutions to extend the States of Emergency in seven police divisions did not pass. Thirteen senators voted to extend the measures, three voted against it, and five members were absent.  Photo: Rudranrath Fraser

 

 

 

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Bahamas News

Bahamian Para-Athlete Erin Brown to Become Godmother of RC’s Odyssey of The Seas

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#TheBahamas, November 24, 2021 – A Bahamian woman who lost her leg to cancer and went on to defy odds and inspire thousands will be named godmother of Royal Caribbean International’s Odyssey of the Seas. Erin Brown, a 41-year-old mother of two and a para-triathlete who cycles, runs, swims and competes at an international level, will accept the honour at a special ceremony in Florida later this week.

“From the moment we heard the story of Erin, how her courage and determination in the face of adversity inspired others and led to a more inclusive consciousness about succeeding with disabilities, we were moved and knew she was a great candidate for godmother of our newest ship, Odyssey of the Seas,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “A godmother serves as the guiding spirit of the ship and brings good luck and safe travels to its crew and guests.”

While she was in college participating as a track and field athlete, Brown was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer called osteosarcoma after suffering a fall that resulted in a broken leg. After more than a year of chemotherapy, her tumor showed no signs of shrinking, and Brown made the difficult decision to amputate her limb above the knee. Brown, who watched her own mother struggle for five years before losing her battle with lupus linked to cancer, knew she had to keep going because her child depended on her. She underwent surgery and woke up to one less leg. “Mind over matter,” she repeated. And then, she re-invented herself.

She said she recognizes now that her disability was a signal to start over. The first time she completed the 100-mile cycling event, Ride for Hope, raising money for cancer research, education and prevention, she led a group of adaptive athletes who heard the thunderous applause and cheers from the crowd that had witnessed the one-legged cyclist achieve what few with two legs could on the hilly terrain.

“A sudden change like the one I experienced is just an opportunity to rebrand yourself to yourself and to society. All those skills you had before – you still have them,” said Brown who has gone on to become an advocate for rights for the disabled and works at the University of The Bahamas as the compliance officer and counselor for the physically challenged.

“Having Erin as our godmother is a fitting way for us to pay tribute to The Bahamas,” said Bayley. “Our company’s very first port of call outside the U. S. was to The Bahamas more than 50 years ago. To this day, Nassau remains one of our most popular ports of call and Perfect Day at CocoCay remains our top pick by our guests. We are excited about this ceremony and honouring our long-time partners, as well as the newest Bahamian flagged ship in our fleet.”

 

Photo Caption: Erin Brown, who calls herself a limb-difference individual, will be named the first Bahamian Godmother of a Royal Caribbean International vessel when she presides over the naming of Odyssey of the Seas.

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