The fund which is being administered by the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis was made possible through the Sugar Industry Diversification Fund, (SIDF), allowing the fishers and farmers to access some interest free loans and others at relatively low or competitive rates.
To date, according to some sources, almost 100 persons have taken advantage of the loans. Those being granted up to EC$25,000 are not required to pay any interest but those who are provided with loans of between 26,000 to $50,000, which is the maximum, are required to make a 6% interest payment but calculated on average at three percent.
The loan facility, according to some reports, has attracted clients from both Nevis and St. Kitts.
Recently, the Premier of Nevis, Joseph Parry expressed his own satisfaction regarding the program of assistance to local farmers and fishers, indicating that for him it would help to stimulate the Agriculture sector in the Federation.
This was important intimated the Premier, because of the importance of agriculture, to the economy. He said it is also critical for the government to have singled out these primary sectors, because it will help to stimulate increased economic activity.
“If you get EC$25,000 as a fisherman you can do a lot with it, and if you get EC$25,000 as a farmer you can do a lot with it; it is not a small loan, and it is interest free,” advised the Premier. He however cautioned: “It is not a gift though, and it is not a grant and sometimes people seem to mix up interest free with a grant or a gift — you have to pay it back.”
Premier Parry, who is also the Minister of Finance in the Nevis Island Administration, educated members of the public that the money is in a form of a revolving fund. “In other words, as you pay back that money it will be loaned out again, and if you want to borrow more than $25,000 you have to pay six percent. If you are prudent, you work with $25,000 and you make sure you make do for yourself and your future.”
According to the Premier, those are the kinds of loans that will help to foster and encourage development but added that there is an element of responsibility. Prospective borrowers were reminded that the loans were not gifts because sometimes people treat gifts as nothing. The borrowers must be prepared to seriously work, and to seriously pay back.