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USD 6.5 million loan facility to be introduced for female entrepreneurs: Govt

President Dr Mohamed Muizzu, speaking at the 2024 SIDS forum announced the government's plan to introduce a USD 6.5 million loan facility for female entrepreneurs and addressed the importance of developing SMEs.

Ameera Osmanagic
27 May 2024, MVT 20:12
[File] President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu speaking at the SIDS forum --
Ameera Osmanagic
27 May 2024, MVT 20:12

The government plans to introduce a USD 6.5 million loan facility for female entrepreneurs and dedicate 25 percent of that to those with disabilities, revealed President Dr Mohamed Muizzu during his closing speech at the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Global Business Network (GBN) forum 2024 held in Antigua and Barbuda.

In his speech, President Muizzu said that the need for this loan scheme is to include and empower everyone without differentiation.

While the President said this, SME Development Financial Corporation (SDFC) currently has loans worth MVR 100 million open for applications specifically targeting women under the Fashaa Madhadhu programme, which is also a 'Hafthaa 14' [14 weeks - first 100 days] pledge of the current administration.

The Fashaa Madhadhu loan is directed for businesswomen facing difficulties in procuring loans from other banks due to non-secure income sources. These individuals are eligible for an amount between MVR 100,000 and MVR 500,000 under this loan.

This loan has a grace period of twelve months with a payment period of seven years. The interest rate of this loan is six percent.

Fashaa Madhadhu Leasing loan is specialized for women entrepreneurs who owns personal businesses as well as freelancers and women who work from home. SDFC stated that these women can utilize the scheme’s funds to purchase the required essential goods.

Distributed at eight percent, this loan allows a fund access ranging from MVR 10,000 to MVR 100,000. The repayment period of this loan begins six months after goods are purchased through this loan. The recipients of this loan are able to implement a 5 years loan repayment procedure. The financing limit for this scheme will be determined based on the income secured determined through the applicant’s banking accounts.

Speaking at the SIDS forum, President Muizzu said that small and medium enterprises, as well as young entrepreneurs need to be developed and that their paths for investments needs to be paved.

"In today's rapidly evolving and unpredictable global environment, the private sector in SIDS is in need of support more than ever. It is the responsibility of Governments to ensure ease of doing business. Facilitate their capacity building. And open new avenues for financing," he said in his speech.

He also addressed the need to prioritise inclusivity and empowering local communities to boost connectivity between businesses and governments to leverage the strengths of both sectors. This would help achieve common goals from infrastructure development to disaster risk reduction, he said and added that this is especially important in SIDS where islands are dispersed over considerable distances geographically.

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