Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 04, 2015 (SKNIS): St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, has revealed that the Fresh Start Loan available at the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis (DBSKN), had been dispersed to 92 small to medium size enterprises (SME’s) owners within the Federation, in the combined amount of EC$8.2 million.

This was stated by the Prime Minister at his monthly press conference held November 03, at Government Headquarters.

“EC$8.2 million, already in the hands of some 92 persons who have been processed under our programme [Fresh Start Loan] intended to help small and medium sized businesses,” Prime Minister Harris said noting that the applicants came from both islands of St. Kitts and Nevis. There were 21 so far from Nevis and 71 from St. Kitts.

The Prime Minister further outlined the types of businesses that were included in the 92 successful applicants for the loan.

“They [business owners] have shown an interest in starting-up professional practices – that was interesting when you look at the list,” Prime Minister Harris noted, revealing that approved applicants included several young people who returned to the Federation adequately qualified in their field, but not possessing the financial sureties required by commercial banks. “We have persons who have come for purchase of vehicles for taxi operations, business expansion, catering, farming, and fishing operations, the purchase of equipment and at least two in relation to the production of poultry and eggs. This is an interesting mix. And of course this diversity is to be welcomed, because it says that our ordinary people, thanks to Team Unity are now being given a Fair Share and a Fresh Start at prosperity and entrepreneurship.”

The funding for the Fresh Start programme had been secured from a loan agreement of US$5 million with the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela through the Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) agreement. Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris; General Manager of PDVSA, Maria Colmenares; Charge D’affaires in the Venezuelan Embassy, Monica Liendo Lopez; the Honourable Ian “Patches” Liburd, Minister of Public Infrastructure, Posts, Urban Development and Transport; General Manager of the DBSKN, Lenworth Harris, signed the necessary legal documents on September 04.

At the signing, General Manager of the DBSKN, Mr. Lenworth Harris stated that the maximum loan per person would not be more than US$100,000 at an interest rate that should not exceed five percent and repayment would be based on the nature of the business that is being funded while repayment could start almost immediately on a reducing balance basis whether with monthly or weekly installments as appropriate.

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