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South Africa entrepreneurs get online access to 200 lenders

first_imgDid you know that there is a website where small business owners who are looking for funding are connected to 200 lenders? They can also access government grants through the site.The Finfind Easy website was created to meet the needs of small business owners who are looking for funding and the 200 lenders who are looking for entrepreneurs to whom they can lend money. (Image: Melissa Javan)Melissa JavanThere were 200 lenders in South Africa and the majority of people who were looking for funding did not even know this, said Darlene Menzies, CEO of Finfind Easy. Menzies was one of the speakers at the ninth annual National Small Business Chamber Summit.The summit was held on 15 and 16 February 2017. Menzies’ topic was “How to access more than 200 lenders for start-up and growth finance for your small business”.“Fast track your business”Topics discussed in summit sessions included “Rethink marketing for the digital age” and “Go global and grow your business”.Attendees showed much interest in sessions such as “Fast-track your business with social media”, filling the conference rooms to overflowing. Many sat on the floor to listen to speakers such as Leanne Rhodes. She talked about marketing your business on social media.According to the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC), 32,127 people had registered for the two-day conference by 7 February. Of them, 14,806 were existing business owners and 17,321 were about to start a business. Attendees also had access for example to the a business expo hosted at the summit.Perseverance, Passion and Persistence are the basis of success@MikeAnderson#nsbcsummit#flamBOYantSA pic.twitter.com/ioOi5S92zn— FlamBOYant_SA (@FlamBOYant_SA) February 16, 2017In less than 2 hours, a website was built for an SME! Want to know how? Visit our stand to find out. #DigitalIdeas #NSBCSummit #BYBO pic.twitter.com/IAMH58ztpL— MTN Business SA (@MTNBusinessZA) February 15, 2017Mobile is the fastest growing technology … @Linah Maigurira #nsbcsummit pic.twitter.com/3lbZ5FPLhM— Angela Dudu Buthelez (@Angela_Buthelez) February 15, 2017Access to funding wantedMenzies talked about the NSBC’s survey released last year, in which more than 10,000 business owners took part. It asked entrepreneurs what the NSBC could focus on more. “The number one answer (was) access to finance. The survey also said that the majority of the people who applied for funding last year went to banks and the government.”The challenge of most entrepreneurs was that they did not know about other lenders, she said.Hundreds of lending products availableAccording to Menzies, there are 350 lending products in South Africa. “A lot of these lenders do not meet their KPIs (key performance indicators) because they are struggling to find SMMEs to whom they can lend.“They receive large volumes of loan applications, but only find a small percentage to lend to. They have a shortage of viable ideas. They’re lending to get a return,” she said. “They need to finance ready and bankable businesses.”Finfind Easy, she explained, was a website that connected entrepreneurs who were looking for funding with lenders. It was free and easy to use. The initiative is sponsored by USAid, the Small Enterprise Development Agency and the Department of Small Business Development. The site was updated daily, and included government grants and loan offerings.“It’s the only website of its kind in the country. We already have 5,000 users.”There were 64 funds available for starting a business, 109 funds available for growing a start-up, 26 funds available for completing a contract, 73 funds available for buying equipment, and 180 funds available for expanding a business, Menzies said.It meets your needsThe site asked questions of the user such as “How much do you need, how long have you run your business, what is the funding for, and what is your average turnover?”And there were no right or wrong answers. “If you are not profitable, there are funds for you. If you don’t have all the documents, the system will help you,” Menzies said. “Your company number is needed.”Small business owners could also learn about finance on the website, for example the different types of lenders and the different types of finance available.You can access the website, here.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa materiallast_img read more

Getting to Zero: Energizing the Green New Deal

first_imgEditor’s note: This is the first in a series on Energizing a Real Green New Deal. You can read the introduction to the series here. Both climate denial and the Green New Deal fail to solve the crucial challenge of our era: How will we create and implement a plan for reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions that is effective, practical, affordable, and rapid. Denial is obviously not a solution and leaves society with the enormous cost of coping with the worst impacts of climate change. On the other hand, the Green New Deal offers solutions that are heavily reliant on federal government control, borrowing, taxation, and spending. And it includes social goals which extend beyond climate change and are destined to become mired in side issues and political gridlock. Neither approach is viable. In this first of three installments, we present a model for an incentive-driven plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in ways that enhance social equity and job creation, while minimizing government regulation.RELATED ARTICLESAmerica Can Afford a Green New Deal — Here’s HowIs the Green New Deal Just a Pipe Dream?New York City Gets Its Own Green New DealLos Angeles Updates Its Plan to Cut Carbon EmissionsGreen New Deal: Just As Dangerous As Climate Denial? Key goals, objectives, and incentives As with all effective strategies, we must first determine our key goals and supporting objectives followed by the specific tasks needed to achieve them. In a market-based economy, the most pain-free and effective way to achieve objectives is to create incentives for actions that support our objectives. To encourage a reduction in fossil fuel use, we need to set specific carbon reduction targets and outline an array of actions needed to reach the objectives. Offering a range of potential actions allows businesses and the public to choose a set of actions they can implement, consistent with their economic and personal situations. Finally, we need to be sure the actions have a positive return on investment. For example, if we want farmers to rebuild soil so it can store significant amounts of carbon, they need to be economically rewarded to make this transition. If we want homeowners to install solar panels, their return on investment needs to be not only positive, but rapid. Incentives can be extrinsic (coming from outside), based on regulations, taxes, subsidies, favorable financing, and tax breaks, or intrinsic (coming from within), based on a positive return on investment, or other less tangible benefits such as improved health and comfort. In most cases, all that is needed to get people and businesses to take action based on intrinsic incentives is to provide education and motivational appeal—a commonly recognized strength of the marketplace. Combining small extrinsic incentives to support intrinsic incentives may create the quickest and most effective road to significant change. State and local governments and utilities have a long history of creating successful financial rebates and educational programs that utilize this strategy to reduce energy use. Defining our goal  Unlike the numerous, diverse goals embodied in the Green New Deal, we should be laser focused on the one central goal that is the challenge of our era: To incentivize individuals, companies and governments at all levels to bring greenhouse gas emissions low enough to keep global warming within 2 degrees C or lower. In the U.S., we will do our part to achieve this by reducing fossil fuel and other greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2040 in a manner that promotes equity, good paying jobs, and prosperity and that utilizes the minimum government involvement needed to leverage our free market system to rapidly reach this goal. The following low- or no-cost approaches are minimally intrusive: Market the intrinsic incentives already in existence, such as the lower cost of ownership and improved performance of electric vehicles and zero-energy homes. Shift tax breaks from fossil fuels to clean energy development, including energy efficiency in buildings and transportation, renewable energy sources, energy storage, and a smart electric grid. Apply a modest tax to carbon-based fuels where they are produced, stored, or refined. Create attractive financing packages for making energy efficiency improvements and adding renewables to homes, businesses, and transportation. Build job growth and social equity into all greenhouse gas reduction efforts. Pursue infrastructure improvements that directly address carbon reductions. Enhance existing government R&D programs and develop new ones in conjunction with industries and universities to create or improve energy efficiency and renewable technologies. Market existing intrinsic incentives at little or no cost The good news is that the intrinsic incentives for all players to move to zero greenhouse emission technologies and strategies already exist and are growing rapidly. One reason is that more and more people, small businesses, large corporations, and local governments are internally motivated to take positive steps to help avoid catastrophic climate change. More importantly, many technologies, such as zero-energy homes, electric vehicles, solar panels, and large-scale renewable electric power, give a greater return on investment and offer more benefits than fossil fuel alternatives. Many of the actions advocated for in this series are intrinsically incentivized because they are good investments for homeowners, car owners, businesses, utilities, and governments. The return on investment and the improvements to people’s lives these new technologies offer will drive the market. The only action needed for these technologies to become the new normal is for utilities and the companies who offer them to harness the marketing powers of American free enterprise. Businesses can readily identify needs, research possible solutions, develop products and services, manage supply chains and distribution networks, set competitive prices, and advertise with gusto. The government’s role is to set overarching goals, provide adequate direction, level the playing field, offer strategic incentives, and build public infrastructure. Local, state, and federal governments can catalyze the formation of marketing alliances to mount effective campaigns that promote the intrinsic benefits of clean energy technologies to the general public. These alliances would include energy utilities, manufacturers of energy-related products, and committed non-profits. Utilities and manufacturers will benefit from business growth. The general public will benefit from positive financial returns. All this with no, or very low, cost to taxpayers. Redirecting existing tax breaks Without creating an additional tax burden, we can realign existing tax breaks and subsidies at the state and federal level to promote measures that will help us reach our net zero greenhouse gas emission goal. According to one estimate, over $20 billion a year in state and federal tax credits are going to the fossil fuel industry. Redirecting these tax credits could make this whopping $20 billion available to incentivize the industries and initiatives focused on greenhouse gas emission reduction while removing support for fossil fuels. The Clean Energy for America Bill, introduced in the Senate, would replace 44 different existing energy tax incentives with incentives for clean electricity, clean transportation fuel, and energy conservation. Passing this bill would be an important step in the right direction. Tax credits should be designed to have the maximum effect on the market. Priority should be given to encouraging those projects where money invested in greenhouse gas reduction will bring a positive return on investment, such as zero-energy homes and buildings, a smart grid, zero-carbon electricity production, and electric vehicles. Because of their positive return on investment, incentives for these new technologies can be modest, effective, and quickly phased out when goals are met or market momentum grows. Tax credits should not be targeted at more expensive, less mature technologies such as electric or hydrogen planes, trains and ships, until R&D has reduced the price enough so that incentives will promote rapid market acceptance. Low- and middle-income households should be offered more generous tax credits to purchase zero energy vehicles, homes, and buildings so they can reap the energy/cost savings and health benefits of these superior technologies. A national advisory board of experts should be created to adjust these tax credits based on market conditions and the evolution of prices in order to leverage the maximum return from each and reduce them as soon as sufficient market momentum is established. A modest carbon tax at the source The market can only make good decisions when it has good information. Unfortunately, the price of fossil fuels ignores many hidden costs, such as increased sickness, toxic spills, mining waste, air pollution and a rapidly changing global climate. Currently, carbon-dependent industries get a free ride with cheap access to public lands, a huge and unregulated dumping area for their waste, i.e., the air we breathe, and even direct government subsidies. These have a real cost to citizens and society. To provide the free market with the information it needs on these costs so it can make rational decisions about fossil fuel use versus clean carbon alternatives, a modest, predictable and stabilizing carbon tax should be levied at the source of fossil fuel production or distribution. While it is not a complete solution in itself, a small carbon tax will begin to price in the hidden costs of fossil fuels, and will be the most cost-effective, least intrusive, and most equitable way to reduce carbon emissions to zero. It is a market-based approach that is supported by more than 3,500 economists, including 27 Nobel laureates. An optimal carbon tax will add a very small but steadily increasing fee to fossil fuels at their source, which will create a predictable, long-term incentive to move toward clean energy. As it gradually increases, it will change the decisions made by citizens, business people, and government officials about cars, trains, aircraft, buildings, generating plants, manufacturing plants, agricultural operations, and military installations. Business and industry will respond to new opportunities, resulting in widespread carbon emission reductions. Electric and hybrid vehicles will become the new normal; all electric zero-energy and positive-energy buildings and homes will dominate the housing stock; clean-fueled trains, ships and airplanes will move goods and people; government and military facilities and operations will be more secure and resilient; and a non-fossil fuel-based, smart electric grid with battery storage will connect it all. This tax can be easily be collected on oil, gas, and coal as they come through pipelines or at refineries or storage facilities. It can be adjusted by a formula to stabilize fuel prices during both price declines and price spikes. Over 30 years, it will very gradually increase the base cost of all fossil fuels. The scheduling of this gradual tax increase along with stabilization of prices gives businesses and families the predictability they need to plan for the future. Revenues from the tax, combined with internal and external incentives, can be used to jump start us on the path to zero in ways that create equity for low income people faced with higher energy costs. Loans and financing Everyone agrees that energy-saving improvements pay off over time. The problem has been that initial costs for these improvements act as disincentives. To overcome this first-cost obstacle, we must create clean energy financing vehicles that make the monthly payments for loans on building, transportation, and infrastructure improvements lower than the monthly energy savings. When the monthly earnings from energy savings exceed the monthly loan costs, it is called profit. When structured properly, loans for energy saving and renewable investments, provide a profit from the very first month, not only benefiting the borrower, but also benefiting suppliers, local economies, and the global climate. Tax credits and/or income from the carbon tax can be used to encourage lenders of all types to offer or underwrite low cost revolving loans to low income people and small businesses for electric vehicles, for zero-energy and positive-energy homes, for solar panels, and for energy efficiency upgrades to existing homes. Similar low cost loans can be offered to small farmers and small forest landowners to provide funds to lower their carbon footprint and to sequester more carbon. Whether they are homeowners, landlords, farmers or small businesses, these revolving loans would be structured to make the earnings from lower energy costs exceed the financing cost so everybody wins. Equity The first priority for tax credits and some of the revenue from the carbon tax will be to create higher tax credits and rebates for low income people to make their homes energy efficient, install solar collectors, buy zero energy homes, upgrade to hybrid and electric vehicles, including used EVs. Landlords of low- and middle-income apartment dwellers should be incentivized to upgrade the energy efficiency of their units and add solar panels, provided they reduce their tenants’ energy bills or rents. Landlords should also be incentivized to provide EV chargers for tenants. Helping lower income families acquire zero-energy homes and electric vehicles will allow them to reap the benefits of low or no utility costs for their homes and reduced fuel costs for their vehicles, and can be a major factor in helping minimize the disproportionate impact of the carbon tax on them. A small portion of the revenue can be returned directly to very low-income individuals by means of a monthly check or a refundable tax credit, as the carbon tax gradually increases. But unlike the current carbon tax bill before Congress, which only uses the tax revenue to give all citizens—rich and poor alike—a check each month, a portion of the carbon tax revenue, along with other incentives, should be used to help lower income individuals reduce their fossil fuel consumption to zero. This approach would save them more money than if they were to continue using fossil fuels while receiving a check to cover some of the higher costs. Infrastructure and jobs The market incentive provided by the carbon tax can be supercharged by devoting a significant portion of the funds to build out a carbon-free infrastructure. For example, revenue could be used to construct a network of highway rest areas with charging stations for electric cars and trucks, to incentivize utilities to convert to non-carbon-emitting energy sources connected by a smart grid, to finance the decommissioning and recycling of fossil fuel facilities that can no longer be used, to transform coal mines and power plants into wind and solar farms, and to retrain the workforce for new clean energy jobs. Fossil fuel companies can be rewarded for restructuring their energy businesses to become clean energy utilities, as Royal Dutch Shell is planning on, so they can enjoy continued success in business and save jobs. And where still needed, federal grants can be made to schools, hospitals, airports, rail lines, and local governments to incentivize building out their share of this carbon-free infrastructure. Using some of the revenue to build out a carbon-free infrastructure will create thousands of good-paying jobs that can’t be replaced by automation or exported. Research and development Some of the revenue form the carbon tax should be used to increase the budget for R&D. To make that funding go even further, national research laboratories can be refocused to conduct more basic research and development to get us quickly and as cheaply as possible to zero greenhouse gas emissions. This can be done in conjunction with university researchers and industry innovators to make it even more cost effective. Areas for R&D should include increasing solar PV and battery efficiency, developing electric and/or hydrogen planes, trains and ships, creating safer, more efficient, and less costly nuclear power, and a developing a highly-effective, renewable-powered smart grid with battery storage. Joseph Emerson is a co-founder of the Zero Energy Project where this article originally appeared. Emerson writes that this series of blogs on the Green New Deal is inspired by Chris Martinsen’s Deconstructing the Green New Deal.last_img read more

Vine’s Microporn Highlights Flaw In App Store Model

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting brian proffitt Tags:#Apple#pornography#twitter A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img Related Posts iOS users are happily trying out Twitter’s new Vine app, posting six-second videos of their lives for their followers to see. But already there are reports of pornographic imagery appearing on the new service, which spotlights Apple’s next move: should Vine stay or should it go?The new social media app, which records and posts short videos to display in continuous loops on your Twitter account, is garnering a lot of praise as creative folks are pushing out cute little vignettes.It’s also getting a early reports of videos depicting nudity and sex. While it’s not clear how much porn one can fit into six seconds (insert obligatory male performance joke here), it hasn’t stopped people from trying.Where There’s Media, There’s PornThat there’s porn on Vine is not a surprise. Since there were cave drawings, humans have been visually recording all things sexual. Vine is just another medium for the activity.What will be interesting is Apple’s reaction (or non-reaction) to the realization that gasp! there’s naughty bits on one of the apps in their App Store.Apple’s policies about nudity, sex and all things in between are the stuff of legend, of course, and just recently have been brought into the spotlight again when the software maker opted to pull apps associated with the popular 500px photo-sharing service out of the App Store.The decision to remove 500px apps would seem to be very germane to Vine, since content that Apple (or anyone else) would deem pornographic is appearing on Vine. And, unlike 500px, which clearly indicated galleries that contained explicit content, Vine content is not required to be so indicated. Which means, theoretically, any Vine link could potentially be a skinfest.This is not to advocate the removal of Vine. If consenting adults want to look at this stuff, that’s their call. But in keeping with Apple’s own policies, Vine has some real porn potential and deserves a review.Cut The Vine?If Vine remains on the App Store after such a review, this would demonstrate a serious flaw in Apple’s store model. If Apple placates big-name app developers and bend the rules for them to let their apps stay in the App Store, then the unfairness we’ve suspected will be brought into the harsh light of reality.If Vine does get pulled, then at least Apple is consistent. But it will also show that the App Store policy is ultimately silly: instead of pulling apps out wholesale, why not just require parental controls or other safe-search-like features in any app where there’s a potential for explicit content to be displayed? This would seem to be a more reasonable approach, and Apple, as the sole developer of iOS, would seem to be in an excellent position to build tools into their iOS SDK to accomplish this.Even if you disagree with the need for such controls, having them present would seem to be a reasonable compromise that would work in the real world and not in the Reality Distortion Field.Image courtesy of Shutterstock. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Kashmir separatist leaders detained

first_imgShujaat case suspect a tough nut to crack PDP and BJP: A Bollywood style break-up, says Omar Abdullah Several separatist leaders in Kashmir, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Omar Farooq and Yasin Malik, were detained on Thursday to prevent their Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) from holding a protest march and observing a general strike against the killing of journalist Shujaat Bukhari The detentions come amid concerns in several quarters that the Union government was preparing the State administration to carry out an aggressive crackdown in the Valley.Also Read One must not form the government just to wield power: Ambika Soni  While Mr. Malik was detained from his Maisuma residence after the Fajr prayers and taken to a police station, Mr. Geelani, the Mirwaiz and Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai were put under house arrest.Political vendetta, says the Mirwaiz“This is nothing but political vendetta. The Hurriyat strongly protests the re-starting of cordon and search operations,” said the Mirwaiz.Governor N.N. Vohra called a meeting of the leaders of all political parties, including the State units of the national parties, on Friday evening “to discuss the situation in the State.”BJP national vice president Avinash Rai Khanna called on Mr. Vohra and discussed “steps required for promoting the welfare of the people in all the three regions.”Also Read  “We have a seen a significant change in the local responses. We have had families celebrating killed militants, including a mother firing in the air to celebrate her son’s death. To me the mood is quite like that of the early 90s,” warned a veteran Kashmir observer within the system. He pointed out that for each local youth killed more would join the militant ranks.‘131 militants are locals’“We are no more dealing with anonymous foreign terrorists. We are dealing with local boys,” he said. Of the 144 active militants in South Kashmir, 131 are locals, according to official data. Only 13 are foreigners. And between January 1 and May 31, almost 90 locals have taken up arms.Several sources in the security establishment say they are expecting a massive jump in violence. “Unless the Centre changes the present tactics, the Valley will go up in flames,” a recently retired intelligence officer said.  Many political appointees in the previous PDP-BJP dispensation, including Advocate General Jehangeer Ganai, resigned from their posts on Thursday.A day after the Central government appointed two key officials involved in anti-naxal operations — Chhattisgarh Additional Chief Secretary (Home) BVR Subrahmanyam and retired IPS officer K. Vijay Kumar who was until recently adviser in the Home Ministry — Mr. Vohra said his priority would be to restore peace and tranquillity on the streets of Kashmir, admitting that the youth of Kashmir are annoyed.However, many within the security establishment believe that the new appointments to steer the Governor’s rule are clear indications of a tougher, more security-oriented approach. They warn that the present localised militancy could produce an unexpected backlash.Also Readlast_img read more

Bill for 10% quota to J&K economically weaker sections approved

first_imgThe Cabinet on Wednesday approved a bill to provide up to 10% reservation to Jammu and Kashmir’s economically weaker sections in jobs and educational institutions.The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019, an official statement said.The approval “would pave the way of extending the benefit of reservation of up to 10% for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in educational institutions and public employment alongside existing reservations”, it said.The Bill is expected to be tabled in Parliament soon as the proposed legislation could not be brought before the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly which has been dissolved. The State is under the President’s rule.The 10% quota Bill to economically weaker sections was introduced through the 103rd Constitution Amendment in January. This will be in addition to such reservation available in the Central government jobs, it said.last_img read more

SPORT-GOLF-IND 2LAST

first_imgMadappa, who came in from Houston, where he has joined Madappa, who came in from Houston, where he has joined University this year, is still waiting for his bags and he simply walked with his teammates in practice. Among top contenders this year will be the Australians and the Chinese. Leading the pack is Curtis Luck (world amateur No. 2), who last month won the individual honours in World Amateurs in Mexico, and then led his team to another title. Teammate Cameron Davis is looking at going one better than second place, where he was when rain forced cancellation of final round, leaving Cheng Jin of China as the winner. Also here are other Australians, Harrison Endycott, Anthony Quayle, Travis Smith and Brett Coletta. Defending champion 18-year-old Jin is back for another crack at the title and emulate Japans Hideki Matsuyama as the only player to retain the title. Before Jin, another Chinese prodigy Guan Tianlang won the title in 2012. Jin, now a freshman at University of Southern California, and 17-year-old Guan Tianlang, the 2012 champion, are both playing in the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship for the fifth straight year. The pair are leading members of a seven-strong China contingent that also includes event debutant Andy Zhang, the third member of the team with major championship experience, having played in the 2012 US Open when he was 14. PTI Cor SSC SSClast_img read more

MP Says SLB Funds Should Be Directed To Critical Areas of Study

first_imgBy Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter Member of Parliament for North West St. Ann, Dr. Dayton Campbell, is recommending that adjustments be made to the Student Loan Bureau (SLB) to focus on areas of study that are critical to nation development.“I believe the SLB should first concern itself with making loans available to persons pursuing tertiary studies in areas…such as Mathematics, Pharmacy, Engineering, the Sciences,” he stated.Dr. Campbell was opening the debate on a private members motion on funding for tertiary education, on June 11 in the House of Representatives.He stated that new programmes should be assessed for relevance, in terms of whether they “respond to labour market needs, foster innovation or serve community aspirations, before approval”.Dr. Campbell said that while he is not suggesting that persons pursuing degrees that are “oversubscribed” or those with “a low employment potential” should be denied tertiary education, the SLB’s limited resources should be directed to those areas which are of strategic importance to the country, and at lower interest rates.These rates, he noted further, “should be inversely proportionate to the need of the area for national development thus the higher the need the lower the interest rate”.According to Dr. Campbell, the country is in need of Mathematics and Science teachers and in order to increase enrolment in these areas, students should get incentives to pursue these subjects at the tertiary level.“I want to take it a step further and propose that no income tax be collected for the first three years of employment for Mathematics and Science teachers, who needed state financing to complete their studies. This portion would instead go straight to the Bureau as a part of their repayment,” Dr. Campbell said.He also proposed the establishment of an income-contingency repayment plan, which would base the monthly loan repayments on the salaries of borrowers. He noted that such a loansystem addresses risk and uncertainty faced by individuals by providing insurance against inability to repay and improves progressiveness by providing a lower public subsidy for graduates that obtain higher private returns.Demand for student loans has increased over the last six years, moving from 6,600 persons in 2007 to 16,600 in 2012, and is projected to swell to over 20,000 persons for the upcoming academic year.The growth in demand, coupled with the annual increase in tuition costs, has significantly increased the pressure on the limited resources of the SLB to provide loans, which is estimated to reach $20 billion in the 2015/16 financial year.For the 2013/14 academic year, approximately $4.9 billion is required to fully cover the projected demand, which will be financed by the Education Tax and loan inflows from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).On March 19, the House of Representatives approved a Government guarantee of a US$20 million loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to the SLB.last_img read more