In a move to enhance access to financing and empower small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Guyana, the government has signed a $100 million loan agreement with the Small Business Development Finance Trust Incorporated (SBDF).
According to the Ministry of Finance, the agreement aims to promote the development and expansion of SMEs across the country, as part of the government’s broader agenda to improve access to financing and drive economic transformation.
The loan agreement was signed by Senior Minister Dr. Ashni Singh, on behalf of the government, and Sattaur Gafoor, Chairman of SBDF.
The $100 million financing facility will enable SBDF to provide loans to individuals and companies wishing to develop and expand their small or medium enterprises, with an interest rate capped at eight percent.
The Ministry of Finance highlighted that the SBDF has been instrumental in supporting small businesses since its establishment in 2002. With an initial capital base of $21 million, the SBDF commenced its journey of assisting entrepreneurs with support from Gafoor, who contributed $11 million, and the government, which contributed $10 million. It said over the years, the SBDF has disbursed 6,835 loans, totalling $4.5 billion, as per the ministry’s records.
During the signing ceremony held at the ministry, Minister Singh recalled the humble beginnings of the SBDF and the tremendous growth it has achieved. He emphasized the importance of small businesses, noting that they have the potential to become medium and large-sized enterprises in the future. Minister Singh also praised the SBDF Board for their contribution to the growth of the organisation and their ability to oversee their own successful family-owned empires.
Minister of Tourism, Industry, and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond, who also attended the signing ceremony highlighted the government’s extensive support for small businesses. She mentioned the Small Business Bureau established under the Small Business Act, which offers training, support, and help-desk services. Minister Walrond also noted the existence of the Small Business Development Fund, which provides loans and grants to small businesses. She explained that the G$100 million loan facility complements these existing efforts.
Expressing gratitude for the government’s partnership, Gafoor, Chairman of SBDF, considered the loan facility an honour and emphasized the SBDF’s growth over the years. He stated that the loan facility would help meet the demands of entrepreneurs, particularly those involved in agriculture.
Furthermore, the Ministry emphasised that the government’s commitment to supporting small entrepreneurs has been evident throughout the year. It said that in March, a G$900 million forestry revolving fund was launched to benefit small and medium-sized loggers which reflects its focus on supporting various sectors and fostering economic growth.
It has since been noted that the support from SBDF, combined with other government initiatives, will empower entrepreneurs and contribute to the economic development of the country.