Business owners who have fallen behind with repayments to the government’s Entrepreneurial Development Programme (EDP) are being told to pay up.
The EDP serves as an “affordable” funding mechanism that entrepreneurs can tap into for loan support, with a maximum three percent interest on offer for citizens.
But, in a recent interview with Observer, EDP Director Garfield Joseph said while the fund has supported the efforts of many business owners since its inception, there are a few who are currently not meeting their obligations.
“I will say at this point in time that we do have some concerns, but we put that in the contexts that we have been negatively impacted by Covid for over a year,” he said.
“So, what we did, in keeping with additional financial institutions and with the direction of the government, we gave moratoriums to many citizens who found it difficult.”
Joseph said the issue is “not alarming” at present but remains a matter that the EDP continues to manage, adding that “only a few people have gotten loans and have not paid back”.
Joseph further underscored that the fund is dependent on the repayment of loans to continue thriving, as it does not profit much from the interest it charges borrowers.
It is for that reason that Joseph is making an appeal for those who are currently in arrears to make good on their required payments.
“I wanna appeal to those one or two persons who know they borrowed and have not paid a cent yet, I believe in the laws of compensation – when you borrow and repay, your business will thrive, your business will be successful,” he said.
“We just appeal, we wanna do it with sensitivity because we recognise it’s a challenge, but the responsibility is on the side of the borrower to repay.”
Joseph said individuals who are unable to repay should approach the agency so that terms and conditions can be discussed according to the situation the entrepreneur may find themselves in.