The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security says single-parent women in Essequibo, Region Two are the most recent beneficiaries of the Women of Worth (WOW) Micro-credit scheme.
In her address at the Anna Regina Town Hall, Minister Priya Manickchand said that since the launch of the programme more than 3000 people have applied. She said that the micro-credit facility targets women particularly single parents. “Government has made no secret of the fact that a large part of its agenda would be concentrated on taking care of vulnerable groups including the elderly, persons with disabilities, children and women,” she said.
The scheme is the result of an agreement between government through the Finance Ministry and the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI). GBTI Branch Manager Mario Farinha said the Bank is committed to the success of this venture and has allocated $500M to the plan to assist women with financing to establish businesses. He added that since the launch the programme has been extended through GBTI branches from Corriverton in the east to Lethem in the south.
“WOW loans can help its recipients to improve their financial situations, their self-esteem, and business skills, while at the same time, teaching them the importance and responsibility of achieving business goals and meeting financial commitments,” Farinha said. In Linden, 57 applications were submitted and in Hampshire, Berbice 80. To date, the Bank has 195 applications with a total value of $39M. Fifteen loans have been disbursed and 23 others have been approved and will be disbursed shortly.
Chairperson of Women and Gender Affairs Committee, Region Two, Juliet Coonjah said the scheme will drastically reduce the vulnerability that has long been used to define women. “GBTI has broken the chains that bound the hands of women,” she added.
According to GINA, under WOW, GBTI single parent women could have access to as much as $250,000 to start up a business or expand an already established business. All sums borrowed attract interest at six per cent per annum. For sums over $200, 000 there is a six-month moratorium of repayments and sums under $200,000 a three-month moratorium on repayment will be granted. The maximum period for repayment is 24 months. No collateral is required for access to WOW financing.