Jamaican Government To Tap Into Estimated JA$45 Billion In Unclaimed Funds Lying Dormant In Accounts Of Local Commercial Banks, For MSME Sector.
Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw says the Government, is expected to tap into a third of an estimated $45 billion in unclaimed funds lying dormant in accounts of local commercial banks.
The Minister is reported to have said that it was time to stop paying lip service to MSMEs, and the decision to target this $15 billion would make it available to MSMEs for lending in the short term, with the aim of eventually claiming the full $45 billion.
The idea of using the money in dormant accounts to provide affordable seed loan funding for MSMEs had received partisan support when it was first floated about many years ago.
The minister pointed out that the current 15-year period before the money is remitted to the State’s coffers was out of sync with the seven years for other jurisdictions and the five years which applies in the United States.
Minister Shaw said that because of the time period, the banks have found ways to apply charges upon charges. So while the account was viewed as dormant, charges which continued to be applied, were not dormant.
In the end he said consumers were sometimes lucky with how much money they ended up with at the end of the day, after all of these charges are built up over time.
Minister Shaw said that his recommendation for Fifteen billion dollars to be made available immediately, was to create a special fund targeted at MSMEs, so that they can get loans at a reasonable interest rate, meaning sub five per cent.
Minister Shaw was addressing the Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise (MSME) National Policy Implementation Committee (NPIC) quarterly meeting, held at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston.