President of the Greater San Fernando Area Chamber of Commerce, Kiran Singh said, is hoping that the upcoming Budget review will address the financial distress experienced by small and media enterprises, which have been “brutally ravaged by the COVID climate.”
In a GML interview, Singh said he understands the current economic situation, however, he had a few recommendations for government, which included using surplus funds allocated to banks for medium and small businesses.
Singh told the media house, “Government issued a $300 million tranche to commercial banks last year for soft loans within the SME sector. Approximately one-third was taken up by the sector however, a significant portion remains unused.”
“We’re aware Government’s balance of payments is in an unhealthy position. Small businesses have become very wary of high-interest rates, extreme due diligence and hidden charges imposed by banks. These factors would have certainly contributed to a fall in demand of financial services (loans). The surplus funds can be redirected to service VAT Refunds. We’re only asking for what’s owed to us to be paid in a timely manner. Cash flow is the lifeblood of businesses. VAT refunds will aid survivability of many small businesses.”