MONTEGO BAY, St James — If Audley Shaw has his way, a portion of the $15 billion that Government is expected to source from unclaimed funds lying dormant in accounts of local commercial banks will go towards financing small ganja farmers and other small and medium enterprises.
“We will have a pool out of a total volume of dormant funds of $45 billion. We will have $15 billion available immediately, which my recommendation to the prime minister and the Government and the new minister of finance is that we should create a special development fund with that $15 billion, targeted to our small and medium enterprises, and including our small farmers in the cannabis sector,” the minister of industry, commerce, agriculture and fisheries said.
“And this is important because it is not just cannabis, it’s also the small and medium enterprises that need finances, and we have not made enough money available to this sector in Jamaica,” he continued.
Shaw, who was speaking last Friday at the 2018 CanEx Jamaica — Business Conference and Expo, a business-to-business conference that brought together cannabis industry professionals from 20 countries at Montego Bay Convention Centre, reasoned that the global standard for the return of unclaimed funds to the central government is about seven years, while in Jamaica it is 15 years.
“In the United States it is five years,” Shaw said.
However, he revealed that the Government is taking steps to bring the period down to seven and a half years.