The Women of Worth (WOW) micro-credit scheme for women is claiming credit for transforming the lives of the now close to 1,000 women who have accessed loans.
WOW is a collaborative venture between the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security and the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) in which women are able to access loans of up to $250, 000 without having to produce collateral.
The micro-credit scheme was launched in June last year and has up to $500 million to lend.
Sheliza Shah, of GBTI, said on Friday, that thus far the Bank has given out 967 loans, amounting to $167 million.
She said that the facility has been extending to women in many areas of the country, pointing out that GBTI has visited Mahdia, Fort Wellington, Hampshire, Buxton, Linden and the Essequibo Coast.
Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Priya Manickhand, said that the scheme has brought tangible benefits to the women who access the facility and she has personally seen how the lives of women have been transformed.
She pointed to a woman who previously was unable to stock her shop now being able to not only stock, but also to expand her business and make a profit to the point of buying a washing machine so that she could make her life easier.
Shah said that the Bank has so far not experienced any difficulties with persons defaulting on loan payments. In fact, she said one woman was able to repay her loan within three months.
Once a loan is approved, persons are not required to start making monthly repayments until after six-months, so as to allow them to get going and have some sort of stability.
Shah noted that the Bank has approved loans for a wide variety of activities, including clothes vending, poultry rearing, cosmetology, and even women engaged in making plantain flour and charcoal.
For loans that are approved, the repayment per month does not go beyond $11,000. Loans range from $100,000 to $250,000 and will attract interest at the rate of six percent per annum with a maximum repayment period of 24 months.
The applicant must be between the age of 18 and 60 years, earning lower than $40,000 per month and must be registered with the Ministry’s Security Single Parent Registry.
WOW was conceptualised after a representative of the Bank showed Minister Manickchand a book entitled “Half the Sky” which highlights successful stories of micro-credit and finance.
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