The state-controlled Grenada Development Bank (GDB) has been commended for its ability to enter into an EC$27 million line of credit agreement with the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
Speaking on this achievement while delivering his ministerial statement to the Lower House of Parliament last week Wednesday, Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell said the line of credit “would not have been possible, if the GDB has not been seen as an institution, whose governance system has improved tremendously.”
The Prime Minister in his capacity as Minister of Finance returned home recently from attending a meeting of the CDB Board of Governors where the loan was finalised.
He told Parliament that GDB’s latest achievement, “must be a tremendous credit to the Board of Directors, staff and clearly of course the government for giving it (GDB) that kind of support.”
During last week Tuesday’s Post-Cabinet briefing at the Ministerial Complex, Health Minister Nickolas Steele, who is also a member of Government’s Economic Investment Committee announced that approximately half of the line of credit of US$10 million will be allocated to entrepreneurs.
“Of that amount, EC$13.5 million is for business loan start-ups and existing businesses. Inclusive of this is, EC$1.35 million (which) is specifically earmarked for renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives,” he said.
According to Minister Steele, loans can range from “EC$8, 000 to $945, 000, at an interest rate of 8.5%” per annum and that the “repayment period will be 12 years” inclusive of a “3-year grace period.”
Minster Steele also announced that, “EC$9.45 million will go towards general student loans,” while “EC$1.35 million will be allocated for special student loans (or) those who are described as vulnerable students.”
He said that “students in this category will pay an interest rate of 5% during (their) studies and 7% upon completion.”
He indicated that the credit line will also provide for home ownership, with “EC$2.7 million (allocated for) home mortgages for lower middle-income citizens,” while “a maximum of EC$180, 000 will be loaned to home owners who have a collective salary of approximately $4,000” a month.
Founded more than 40 years ago, GDB, formerly known as the Grenada Agricultural and Industrial Development Corporation, which itself was the successor to the Grenada Agricultural Bank, was originally established in 1965.
The corporate name, Grenada Agricultural and Industrial Development Corporation, was changed during the 1979-83 Grenada Revolution to the Grenada Development Bank by People’s Law No. 33 of 1980, which became effective on July 18, 1980.
The primary purpose of the bank is to assist in the economic development of Grenada by providing financial and technical assistance in the areas of Agriculture, Fisheries, Tourism, Industry, Housing, Small Business Development and Human Resource Development.