Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Questions (43)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

43. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the target for drawing down from the mircoenterprise loan fund and the credit guarantee scheme for the coming year. [33510/13]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

When I introduced both these schemes to the House this time last year I clearly indicated that the take-up of both schemes is dependent on SME customer demand levels. The annual value of potential demand from SMEs is very difficult to assess. This makes the setting of an upper limit of annual lending capacity which ought to be made available via Schemes difficult to set precisely. From the outset, I have emphasised that the figures used are estimated and that the exact requirements could be lower or higher depending on SME credit demand needs and economic conditions over the duration of the Schemes. The figures quoted are most definitely not targets for the Schemes and there will be no specific targets set for the schemes for the coming year as they will remain demand led schemes.

The Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS) can facilitate up to €150m of additional lending per annum. When the Scheme was launched in October 2012, I made a commitment to review the Scheme after 12 months of operation. However, due to the low level of utilisation of the Scheme, I have brought forward the review process to examine ways to improve future performance and take-up. An external consultant will be selected very shortly to commence the formal review of the Scheme which I intend will be concluded by end quarter 3 2013. Any changes to legislation arising from the review will take place after that date.

In relation to MFI and based on the existing business model, Microfinance Ireland (MFI) can support up to €8.8m of lending to microenterprises per annum. The key challenge for MFI is to ensure that people are aware that there is support for new and existing viable micro enterprises with perceived or real higher trading risk that have been refused credit by banks. In that regard MFI has been engaged with key influencers across the country to get that message across. There will be on-going promotional and awareness activities to ensure that awareness of the scheme is promoted to its full potential amongst relevant micro business groups across all sectors of business.