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No takers for agri-processing- renewable energy and energy conservation loans

Industry and Commerce Minister Karl Samuda has knocked members of the agri-processing industry who have refused to take up specially arranged low-interest loan packages through his ministry, despite complaints about access to capital.

SAMUDA. they were appealing to us to find capital

Samuda said that an appeal from the agri-processors association for assistance to purchase in-season produce resulted in a $30-million loan facility from Government at 10 per cent interest, four months ago.

“Let us look at what constitutes a frustration for a guy like me,” Samuda declared Tuesday, at a luncheon of business leaders and government ministers hosted by Observer chairman Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart at the newspaper’s headquarters in Kingston.

“They were appealing to us to find capital,” Samuda said, adding that agri-processing was now the focus.

“Last week, I received a letter advising that none of them are in a position to take it up as they found the rate of interest too high. Ten per cent!” Samuda said.

The minister’s comments came against the background of complaints by private sector leaders at a previous Observer luncheon, last week, about high interest rates, energy costs and Government’s tax policy that stymied profitable operations.

Prime Minister Bruce Golding, who also responded Tuesday to concerns raised by the business leaders, said the take-up of funds for energy conservation measures have also been largely ignored.

“We provided $1 billion of loan financing at 10 per cent; money to encourage people to benefit from conservation projects,” the prime minister told the businessmen.

“They could have come in and borrowed that money and put in solar panels, put in new LNG-efficient equipment in their factories. I have to find somewhere else to put that money; the money has not been taken up,” he added.


Source: Jamaica Oberserver



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