A Bill aimed at facilitating easier access to loans for businesses was passed Tuesday, December 3, in the House of Representatives.
The Security Interest in Personal Property Act (SIIP), which is a requirement under the agreement between the Government of Jamaica and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), was passed with 84 amendments.
In piloting the legislation, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, explained that the Bill seeks to address the critical challenge of securing capital by businesses. He noted that currently, access to credit is limited to only well-established businesses and persons, who own real property.
“(The Bill)… is designed to…modernise and improve the availability of domestic credit to the private sector, while effectively minimising the risk of non-payment of loans,” he noted.
“It will allow, for the first time, intangibles, including, in this regard, intellectual property and other forms of personal property to now become part of the collateral that can be pledged to secure financing for business and will expand greatly, the opportunity for credit in this country,” Mr. Hylton pointed out.
He said it will also seek to remove any ambiguity relating to the property pledged, to whom such property is pledged, and allows the secured creditor the right to seize and repossess such property speedily upon default of payment.
Mr. Hylton said the passage of the legislation will ultimately speed up the process of broad-based growth and economic inclusiveness in the country by creating the enabling environment for businesses to grow and flourish.
“It is expected to contribute positively to achieving the objectives of economic growth and job creation,” he added, noting that it will provide a fillip to the micro, small, and medium-size enterprises, as well as the farming sector.
Member of Parliament for St. Andrew North East, Delroy Chuck, welcomed the passage of the legislation, noting that the Bill can be a game changer in providing opportunities so that “poor people, small businesses can access credit.”
“There is no doubt that this Bill will hopefully free up credit so that persons, who at this moment do not have collateral, to be able to get a couple hundred thousand, that this Bill will assist them in doing so,” Mr. Chuck said.
For his part, Member of Parliament South East St. Elizabeth, Richard Parchment, noted that the legislation will facilitate easier access to loans by farmers.
“What pertains now is that you have to own land to get money to put in your crops and what is going to happen now is that you will have security interest in the crops. This is going to be a game changer to agricultural community,” Mr. Parchment said.
The Bill will be sent to the Senate for its approval.
By Latonya Linton