Media Release: Government approves loan facility to assist businesses



by Lissa Joseph, GIS

THE BUSINESS RECOVERY PROGRAMME WILL AID MSMES NEGATIVELY IMPACTED BY THE PANDEMIC.

In efforts to build resilience amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Saint Lucia, on Nov. 20, implemented a USD$2.6 million grant/loan facility to assist businesses. The measure forms part of the Economic Recovery and Resilience Plan announced by Prime Minister Hon. Allen Chastanet earlier this year.

The Climate Adaptation Financing Facility (CAFF), is a funding mechanism within the Saint Lucia Development Bank (SLDB) originally designed to offer affordable climate change adaptation loans that are equitable across socio-economic and gendered lines and provide incentives for pre-emptive vulnerability reduction. Taking into consideration the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the business sector, the CAFF has been relaunched to include a Business Recovery Programme.



Managing Director of the Saint Lucia Development Bank, Mr. Vincent Boland, said the facility in its new form, will aid Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) negatively impacted by the pandemic. Mr. Boland explained that while the bank does not have the resources to make up for loss revenue for everyone, the Business Recovery Programme is designed to provide a level of support. It focuses on self-employed persons who are registered with an organization or association in order for the SLDB to be able to track the progress of recipients. Businesses must have suffered a 30 percent reduction in overall turnover to benefit from the facility. Enterprises will have access to loans ranging from $25, 000 to $200,000 dollars. These loans will encompass a mix of loan and grant financing. The terms and conditions of the loans will vary based on the enterprise and as such determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis.



Mr. Vickram Cuttaree, World Bank Program Leader for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure in the Caribbean, said along with the possibility of combining grants and loans to help businesses through the liquidity crash that so many are experiencing, the Government of Saint Lucia and the SLDB will be providing free training on disaster preparedness planning and business continuity to help entrepreneurs better reduce their vulnerability to future shocks. The SLDB will also assist businesses in joining the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce and other associations that support and advocate for businesses of all sizes and sectors.

The CAFF offers accessible loans to firms, community groups and households for investments and/or livelihood activities that support climate adaptation or disaster vulnerability reduction.

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