The Development Bank of Jamaica in partnership with micro finance entities is offering low interest, no collateral loans up to $750,000 to small business owners in the entertainment and transport sectors.

The ‘Ready Fi Di Road’ scheme was launched this afternoon as businesses continue to recover from the Covid-19 downturn while simultaneously dealing with further economic shocks.

Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke is encouraging operators not to pass up on the opportunity.

Chevon Campbell has that story.

As things were returning to normal for many Jamaicans after Covid-19, the country was again rocked with additional economic woes.

The entertainment sector, one of the hardest hit by the pandemic will receive a much-needed shot in the arm to the tune of $500 million.

Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke says the loans will be offered at low-interest rates with no collateral required.

The loans will be offered via the Development Bank of Jamaica through several entities such as Jamaica National, First Heritage Credit Union, Cable and Wireless Credit Union, Lasco Financial and Access Financial among others.

A similar facility will be set up for transport operators for an additional $200 million.

While the loans will be offered to the select institutions at three per cent interest, they’ll be required to assess their own risk and decide on a suitable lend through rate.

However, Dr. Clarke is urging these entities not to attempt to abuse the facility to encourage take-up.

Meanwhile, Dr. Clarke says the $25,000 grant offered to transport operators will soon be ready for those who’ve already applied.

He says the funds should be ready for disbursement as early as this week.

In March Dr. Clarke announced the provision for public Passenger Vehicle Operators to cushion the rising cost of fuel.

The programme will cost just under $600 million and is expected to benefit 17,000 people.

However, Dr. Clarke says the policy will be amended to increase the number of people able to access the grant.

The finance minister is urging operators to apply and not miss the opportunity.

Dr. Nigel Clarke, Minister of Finance and the Public Service.