By Johnnie Rosario
(Tumon, Guam) After a week of pushing by Congressman Michael San Nicolas, Speaker Tina Muna Barnes, and Sen. Jim Moylan, the U.S. Small Business Association announced today that the governor finally made an economic injury disaster declaration. U.S. SBA now is offering "low-interest federal. disaster loans for working capital to Guam small businesses suffering substantial economic injury" as a result of COVID-19, according to the U.S. SBA.
U.S. SBA needed Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero to make the declaration before it could make the loan opportunities available to Guam small businesses. In separate letters over the past week, Mr. San Nicolas, Ms. Muna Barnes, and Mr. Moylan implored the governor to make this declaration, and followed up with those requests.
"I cannot stress enough the importance of immediately submitting Guam’s application for a disaster zone declaration so that our small businesses, incredibly vulnerable to economic imbalance, get the relief they deserve," Mr. San Nicolas wrote to the governor yesterday.
She finally did make the request.
“Given that our local entrepreneurs are the driving force of our economy, I am grateful for the assistance from our Federal Partners to ensure that our business infrastructure can remain intact” stated Speaker Muña Barnes. “I will continue to work with our Federal Partners, our Governor, and especially our Congressman to ensure that we leave no stone unturned” concluded Muña Barnes.
The following is information provided by the U.S. SBA:
“SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist Guam small businesses with federal disaster loans. We will be swift in our efforts to help these small businesses recover from the financial impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19),” said U.S. SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza.
SBA Customer Service Representatives will be available to answer questions about SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and explain the application process.
“Small businesses, private non-profit organizations of any size, small agricultural cooperatives and small aquaculture enterprises that have been financially impacted as a direct result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) since Jan. 31, 2020, may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred,” said Carranza.
“These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. Disaster loans can provide vital economic assistance to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing,” Carranza added.
Eligibility for Economic Injury Disaster Loans is based on the financial impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses. The interest rate for private non-profit organizations is 2.75 percent. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years and are available to entities without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.
Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email [email protected] for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
The deadline to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is Dec. 21, 2020.
For more information about Coronavirus, please visit: Coronavirus.gov.
For more information about available SBA resources and services, please visit: SBA.gov/coronavirus.