The Jamaica government says it is working to resolve banking issues that have been impacting the island’s medical cannabis industry.
The Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce said many major banks are reluctant to fund the growth of medical cannabis out of fear of breaching federal laws in the United States and as a result, businesses are unable to attract financing, without which they cannot be licensed.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Dr. Norman Dunn, said that discussions are taking place “at various levels… because we believe that we need to solve this issue”.
He said that local banks were invited to participate in a virtual meeting on the matter last week.
“We had a meeting with a major stakeholder in the industry and we have been having meetings with persons who are making the various different proposals on how we deal with this correspondent banking issue. It is a real issue; it is a real concern.
“The Ministry is working assiduously to ensure that we have a solution, that we can encourage this new industry to grow and develop and thrive,” he added.
Dunn was speaking Thursday at the opening of EXIM Bank’s virtual webinar entitled ‘E-commerce: The new Export Frontier for Small and Medium-sized Businesses’.
EXIM Bank, under its Business Advisory Services Unit (BAS), is seeking to provide small and medium-sized enterprises with information to unlock existing and new opportunities presented by the coronavirus (COVID-19). Dunn said that it will prepare entities to meet the new challenges and take advantage of opportunities.
He praised EXIM for continuing “to chart new avenues and opportunities and to create new pathways for us to see that the world is there and we need to rise to the occasion to play that meaningful part in this new world that is emerging”.
EXIM Bank managing director, Lisa Bell, said that the financial institution’s primary goal is to assist small and medium=sized businesses, particularly those operating in the “very important export value chain”, to realise their productive promise.
“Our mandate is to improve access to finance [including] loans and other fit-for-purpose financing solutions,” she said, adding that EXIM has been working assiduously to identify existing and emerging opportunities “which will allow our clients and potential clients to not only survive this crisis but to, indeed, actually thrive”.
The webinar included presentations from local and international experts on how to start, build and scale e-commerce businesses.