What is the SME Stimulus Loan Facility?
The SME Stimulus Loan Facility is a government-sponsored loan programme of up to TT$300 million to help micro, small and medium sized businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Who is eligible?
The Facility is open to micro, small and medium sized enterprises operating and incorporated in Trinidad and Tobago and in operation as of March 1, 2020.
To be eligible for the Facility, an SME is required to declare, amongst other things, that they are in possession of:
- Annual Gross Revenues between TT$1 million to TT$20 million
- Minimum of five (5) employees
- Up-to-date BIR and VAT payments
- Up-to-date NIB contributions
- A VAT registration number, where applicable
Who cannot apply for an SME Stimulus Loan Facility?
- with majority shareholder(s) that are non-nationals (not citizens or permanent residents of Trinidad and Tobago); or
- with gross revenues of less than TT$1 million or more than TT$20 million, and/or less than (5) five employees are NOT eligible to apply for loans under this Facility, or
- with loans in arrears 90 days or more.
What can I use the loan for?
The business must confirm that the loan will be used solely for salary payments, working capital and purchase of raw materials.
What information is required to access the Facility?
- Up-to-date annual audited or management financial statements, to also be submitted annually within (60) days of each fiscal year-end during the life of the loan;
- Semi-annual unaudited financial statements within (60) days of the semi-annual date;
- Financial and operating statements as required by the lending institution;
- Financial covenants that are customary for transactions of this nature;
- Borrowers must be compliant with KYC requirements.
How long is the loan term for the Facility?
Loans under the SME Stimulus Loan Facility are available over a fixed five (5) year term.
How much am I meant to repay?
Businesses are not required to make repayments for the first twenty-four (24) months but will have to repay the principal in (36) thirty-six equal monthly principal instalments thereafter. Government will pay all interest.
Can I repay early ?
Yes, prepayment is allowed without penalty.
What is the interest rate on this Facility?
Government will pay all interest on the loan. There is no interest cost to the borrower.
Is this Facility secured by the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (GORTT)?
Yes. The Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago will secure 75% of your loan balance.
Do I have to provide any security?
Each borrower may be responsible for providing collateral for the remaining 25% of the loan balance that is not secured by the Government, as required by the lending institution.
Shareholders of the borrower may also be required to provide personal guarantees for 50% of the loan.
What criteria do SMEs need to satisfy in order to access this Facility?
In addition to meeting eligibility criteria, the SME must certify that:
- It intends to continue to operate its business or to resume operations;
- It generates revenues from the sales of goods and services;
- It will not use the proceeds to repay other borrowings;
- It will not use the proceeds to repay any Director/Shareholder Loans;
- It will not use the proceeds to declare a Shareholder Dividend;
- It will make best efforts to maintain employment of permanent staff as existed at March 1, 2020;
- It is not owned or controlled by any shareholder or person who also owns or controls another SME that is already a borrower or has applied for a loan facility under the program;
- Shareholders of the SME must also be willing to provide personal guarantees.
Which lenders are offering loans under the Facility?
Loans will be available from First Citizens Limited, RBC Royal Bank (T&T) Ltd, Republic Bank Ltd and Scotiabank (T&T) Ltd.
How long will this Facility run?
The Facility is open until September 30, 2020.
How do I apply?
If you are interested in the SME Stimulus Loan Facility you should visit your financial institution’s website for more information.