LONDON, May 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- On Thursday, the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica signed an agreement with the Dominica Agricultural Industrial (AID) Bank to assist small businesses owners. As of the same day, those impacted by the pandemic can apply for small loans with a 1% interest, generous terms and a fast 48-hour turnaround. During the signing ceremony, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit encouraged all to apply confidently and expressed enthusiasm that many will be able to secure their livelihoods.
The scheme, valued at EC$5 million sourced from government funds, aims to provide small business owners with the financial support to adapt their business models and operations in preparation for the imminent return of tourists. The PM also thanked the World Bank and the IMF for their valued partnership and prompt support that helped Dominica handle the pandemic well. Premier Skerrit also praised Dominicans' exemplary discipline and advised on continued vigilance.
"These loans can be used for a wide range of business activities," the Prime Minister said during the signing ceremony on Thursday. "The generous terms must also be considered in terms of the repayment period schedule and the grace period for these loans. I am happy to note that the AID Bank will seek to efficiently respond to the applicants, because for many of these applicants time is certainly of the essence and seeing that our country is gradually reopening, it is important for them to reposition themselves so that their business activities can resume […] in a very positive manner."
PM Skerrit said that there is a total of EC$20.7 million income support and small loans facility, with more initiatives being rolled out. "There are many other interventions that we are making [such as] providing tax rebates to the private sector entities. This is money that belongs to the state but we're giving it to the private sector to maintain employment levels and so forth. I am very excited for this and I know there are so many people who have been affected by this COVID-19 but help is here."
Finally, the PM recognised that while this is a new challenge for the country, the people of Dominica has previously overcome extraordinary tests through resilience and unity. "I am very, very, very grateful and proud of the behaviour of the public in all of this period. You have been responsive, and you have been disciplined and that has been very helpful in us containing [the spread of the virus]. But we must not be complacent, and we must continue."
Over the past few years, Dominica has been establishing a promising ecotourism sector rooted in sustainability, nature immersion, intimacy, wellness and tranquillity. In the fall of 2019, the Financial Times' PWM filmed a documentary where Editor-in-Chief Yuri Bender said that Dominica is "carving a niche of its own" focused on the quality of tourists rather than quantity.
Aiding this extraordinary sustainability feat, which many countries may consider copying to address the distance-conscious tourists, is Dominica's Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme. There are seven hotels in which one can invest and qualify for citizenship in Dominica. All applicants must first pass the due diligence checks before making their CBI investment. Families can apply jointly and then pass down their citizenship to future generations in a promising, peaceful country, also known as the "Nature Isle of the Caribbean." Alternatively, one can contribute to the Economic Diversification Fund, which has had a tremendous impact on virtually all aspects of life in Dominica.
SOURCE CS Global Partners