Stevian Simmonds reports

The Opposition Spokesman on Finance, Julian Robinson, is proposing the use of unclaimed savings in the nation’s commercial banks be used as loans for small businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unclaimed funds are considered monies in the possession or under the control of a deposit-taking institution such as a banks or building society, for a period of 15 years or more.

This would not be considered a dormant account.

The proposal to use these funds was among several suggestions made by Mr. Robinson while speaking at a Jamaica Chamber of Commerce session on the economy this morning.

As micro and small businesses continue to suffer from the effects of COVID-19, the Opposition Spokesman on Finance has come up with an additional set of proposals that could help.

Mr. Robinson is proposing the use of unclaimed monies as another form of lending to the worst-affected in the business sector.

Mr. Robinson in batting for the affected Entrepreneurs says more support is needed to prevent them from going into bankruptcy or closure.

The first-time Opposition Spokesman on Finance says the biggest challenge facing this initiative might be that the entities needing the assistance the most are still in the informal sector.

But he says the initiative could be used as an attractive avenue to bring more businesses into the formal sector.

Mr. Robinson also noted that the proposal might be met with some resistance from the banking sector although he’s uncertain at this time about their position on the initiative.

Meanwhile, Mr. Robinson is calling on the government to address the bureaucratic hurdles affecting small business owners who want to access government-initiated COVID support from the Development Bank of Jamaica.

Julian Robinson, Opposition Spokesman on Finance.