State loan assistance

Attorney General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum briefs the media during a press conference at Suvavou House in Suva on Thursday, April 16, 2020. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

From next month, skilled workers who have lost their jobs because of COVID-19 can apply for a loan of $7000 from Government to start their businesses.

This was announced by Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed- Khaiyum at a press conference in Suva yesterday.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said any existing or anyone wishing to establish a micro-enterprise during this time with a gross turnover of $15,000 could apply.

This, he said, would assist micro-enterprises facing issues with working capital.

“It will be given by way of a loan,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“The loan will have a one-year grace period, payable within the next four years.

“In other words, it’s a five-year loan term.

“The first year of grace period, there will be no principal or interest applicable to be paid.”

He said an ad-hoc business organisation called Business Assistance Fiji had been set up to oversee the initiative.

The organisation is made up of various stakeholders.

For instance, he said, pastry chefs who worked at a resort but had lost their jobs because of COVID-19 and were in need of financial assistance to start a pastry business could apply for the assistance.

He said the interest rate was 0.5 per cent.

“There is no way you can get a 0.5 per cent interest rate at any one of the banks during this time.

“This is Government’s way to assist and the skill sets to be better utilised.”

Required documents for application:

– Business registration TIN;

– Bank account details;

– Business plan;

– Cashflow projections; and

– Completed application form Existing small enterprises facing hardships with a gross turnover of $50,000 to $300,000 are eligible to apply for a $14,000 loan, with an interest rate of 1 per cent. Medium-sized enterprises with a gross turnover of $300,000 to $1.5million are eligible to apply for a $21,000 loan, with an interest rate of 1.5 per cent.

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