(DNO): Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has urged the public to “support local” in order to help to create more jobs in Dominica’s economy.

He was addressing the signing ceremony of an agreement to lend the AID Bank $15-million at zero percent interest rate to on-lend to the Manufacturing Sector at an interest rate of 3 percent.

The ceremony was held at the State House conference room on Thursday.

“You have to support local,” he said. “If we buy more what is produced locally, you will create a job for your son who is completing University soon, your sister who is working will be assured of a job; that the youngster who you are talking about creating a job for. We buy our actions, will create a job.”

He added, “If we are producing things in Dominica, the question is, why are we not making a more concerted effort as consumers in Dominica to buy the products even if it is 25cents or 50cents more expensive than that is being imported.”

Skerrit gave the example of drinking water, saying he has no problem with other water sold in Dominica, adding “if we are boasting that we have the best water in the world, we can go to a river and drink water straight from the river without having it purified, then we are importing water from countries that don’t even have a dry lake from a running lake, and then we talk about our import bill and blame the government for the import bill…”

He went on to say that the supermarkets, hotels and restaurants in Dominica will put on their shelves and their tables local items if they know they are on high demand.

“When we go there we must ask for the local stuff and make the choice,” he urged.

Furthermore, Skerrit revealed that before the end of the year his government will go to Parliament to introduce legislation relating to small business development in Dominica to create a special legal framework within which the small business environment of Dominica can operate.

“And to attach to this legal framework, specific concessions and benefits which would be ascribed to small business in Dominica, so that every one of us would know how we fitting into the economy of the country, how the government can assist us and how we can play a more meaningful role in the attainment our objective of a more just and prosperous Dominica,” he revealed.

He said the successes of these businesses will depend on the consumers of Dominica.

Minister for Commerce, Enterprise and Small Business Development, Roselyn Paul told manufacturers to take full advantage of the facility.

“We expect the agro-processors, furniture maker, garment manufacturer, craft producers, metal and glass fabricators, boat makers, breweries, those involved in producing soaps, pharmaceuticals, herbal teas, organic fertilizers, paints, pesticides, leather and paper, masonry products and others to take full advantage of the available funds at an affordable rate,” she said.

Paul pointed out that expected loans from the facility, as requested by the manufacturers, will be directed at, “working capital, construction of facility, purchase of equipment and machinery, expansion and or improvement of the manufacturing plant, systems update, marketing and promotion activities including training.”

She noted that the credit facility will help to improve the ecosystem, strengthen the enabling environment for enterprise development and help to address some core issues that affect the manufacturing sector.

“This giant step we are taking today along with what is already in place will certainly help to address some core issues and reach desired outcome such as; improve access to credit and this is an important pillar of any private sector development,” she noted.