Dr. Kelvin Daly, political opponent of Premier Mark Brantley in the federal elections, is blasting the Premier for introducing a deposit requirement for persons applying to the newly launched small business loan program for women and persons under the age of 35.
Dr. Daly, the candidate who will be contesting Nevis 9 for the opposition Nevis Reformation Party, says after a year of grandstanding by Premier about the “wonderful opportunity for new businesses on Nevis to access Government funding”, the requirements for loans will hinder many persons from becoming eligible.
“Most troubling is item #6 which requires collateral in the amount of 20% of the loan. So if you want to borrow $100k, a $20k deposit or assets of that amount must be handed over to the government. Having jumped through all of the hoops to get their business idea and plans approved, this overzealous requirement for such a large collateral UPFRONT will surely prove difficult if not prohibitive for most entrepreneurs. Only a grinch would seek to gouge money from the pockets of poor people.”
Dr. Daly also expressed disapproval that the NIA doubled the interest rate from 2 to 4% and eliminated all males over 35 years from applying.
He said under an NRP administration, the interest rate would have been dropped to 2%, the rate of the $5 million Taiwan loan as the government would recoup its investment over time through taxes levied on the businesses.
He said as a Federal Parliamentarian he would eliminate discrimination against mature males, remove the collateral requirement, provide free expert assistance to applicants at every step and reintroduce the SEED Program at 0% interest.
The Small Enterprise Development Unit (SEDU) will begin to accept applications to access loans of up to $100,000 for small business development or expansion and the requisite training on January 15.
Mr. Colin Dore, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance in the Nevis Island Administration the interest rate for the loans will be manageable making it easier for clients to make repayments on time because “we have to ensure that you are not overly burdened at the beginning with debt servicing”.
The loan requirement list SEDU provided for interested persons states, “Collateral will be required on ALL loans: security deposit of 20% of the loan or a minimum of 1-3 months advance payment deposit of the borrowed amount.”