The government intends to accept a $25 million loan guarantee from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to help fund micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) through the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said yesterday.
Turnquest, who made the remarks during the start to the 2020/2021 budget debate in the House of Assembly, said the $25 million will expand the funding already available to MSMEs needing assistance due to the impact of Hurricane Dorian and COVID-19. He said the $25 million will be part of $50 million to assist in those efforts.
“The development of the small business sector has been a key tenet of our transformational socioeconomic agenda,” Turnquest said.
“As the backbone of the private sector, the more we facilitate the development of MSMEs, the more job creation opportunities are available, which ultimately results in increased economic activity and higher productivity. Most importantly, the more we support Bahamian entrepreneurs and small businesses, the more we empower and give real and powerful voices to Bahamians as owners in their country.
“I am happy to assert today that the government has chosen to proceed with this arrangement, which will help to provide funding to hundreds of MSMEs. This loan will help to fund in part up to $50 million in funding requests for 2020, to assist small businesses with hurricane recovery, COVID-19 recovery and continued business support through loans, grants and equity arrangements.”
According to Turnquest, the SBDC had registered more than 9,700 for its disaster recovery support and newly established business continuity program for COVID-19 impacted businesses.
“The SBDC approved nearly $40 million in funding across its programs, with just short of $6 million approved for hurricane-impacted businesses specifically and another $29 million for those impacted by COVID-19,” he said.
“Further, the SBDC has disbursed close to $20 million in funding, of which $3.4 million assisted businesses in Abaco and Grand Bahama after Hurricane Dorian; and $10.4 million to businesses affected by the virus. For those businesses seeking advisory and funding outside of the hurricane and COVID-19 programs, some $2.8 million has been disbursed.”