BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, December 17, 2020 (MMS-SKN) — Operators of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) desirous to improve and promote their businesses will in 2021, courtesy of the Team Unity Administration, be able to access business loans at concessionary interest rates through the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis.
The good news was revealed on Tuesday December 15 by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, at a sitting of the National Assembly held at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort Ballroom where he tabled The Appropriation (2021) Bill, 2020, in which the Government is seeking approval for $867.9 million for the provision of services for the financial year commencing January 1, 2021 and ending on December 31, 2021.
“Mr Speaker, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are critical for the on-going development of our country,” said Prime Minister Harris. “This year alone Mr Speaker, we have achieved an historic high of over 800 approvals for business licenses. This has been the highest on record in the Ministry of Finance.”
In what is government’s appreciation of the role being played by the SMEs, Dr Harris said: “Mr Speaker, to further incentivise the entrepreneurial spirit, my Government will in 2021 make a special tranche of $5 million available to assist those who are looking for concessionary interest rates through the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis, so we will have a special carve-out to help persons in that industry.”
Prime Minister Harris had earlier noted that it is envisaged that the new Ministry of Entertainment, Entrepreneurship and Talent Development, which was launched after the June 5 elections, would work in tandem with the other agencies of the Government, such as the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC), the Ministry of Finance, and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), to assist the small, micro, and medium-sized enterprises.
“Mr Speaker, we are also excited by the exuberant reception we have received in terms of the mandate given to the Ministry of Entertainment and Talent Development so far,” said Prime Minister Harris. “This is the main arm of the Government that is charged with the responsibility to transform the entertainment, the creative and innovative industries through entrepreneurship and economic value creation in our Federation.”
The Government, Prime Minister Harris noted, had recognised the extensive possibilities of building the enabling environment for the country’s talented young people to deepen their creativity to produce innovative content, products and services.
He pointed out that the rich nexus of twinning the unique creative and innovative talents of the people with the income generating potential of entrepreneurship is encouraging, and must be tapped. He added that the new Ministry of Entertainment, Entrepreneurship and Talent Development and its work holds great possibilities to create new sources of employment, wealth and sustainable economic activity.
The Ministry of Entrepreneurship will among other things help people find their creative talents and put them into effective use. The Prime Minister noted that the new Minister, who is the elected member for St. Christopher Three, the Hon Akilah Byron-Nisbett, would lead that particular area noting that she has a history of involvement in the entertainment industry having been a talented queen and a beauty queen in her youthful years.
“She comes to the Ministry with a sense of the realistic demands that people out there have in relation to this Ministry and how we can in fact help them more,” stated Dr Harris.