The National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) through its Sierra Leone Community Driven Development (SLCDD) project has provided a loan of Le1, 446,100, 000 (One billion four hundred and forty six million, one hundred thousand Leones) to 520 Micro Entrepreneurs across the country.
The symbolic disbursement which took place in Makeni and Kenema attracted representatives from local councils, financial institutions, staffs of NaCSA and dozens of enthusiastic family and friends of the recipients.
The initiative is part of NaCSA’s Sierra Leone Community Driven Development (SLCDD) project that is geared towards providing support to existing and unstable businesses to gain access to capital in order to stimulate their economic growth thereby contributing towards the reduction of poverty in the country.
The Commission, funded by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) had set up a special fund in the form of restricted capital purposefully to lend qualified entrepreneurial groups with cash that only demands20% concessionary interest.
Addressing the groups in Kenema, NaCSA Deputy Commissioner, Haja Isatu Kamara said that the project is one of several initiatives undertaken by NaCSA in empowering youths particularly women in enhancing their income generating activities that leads to increased access to good health and quality education especially in rural communities.
She urged the beneficiaries to make proper use of the loan opportunity, noting that NaCSA will continue to serve as a development engine that aids and complements government’s effort.
The Commission in April 2014 provided the sum of US$ 1000 to each group as preparatory grant to formally register with the relevant institutions and equally encouraged them to open accounts in order to boost their savings and cultivate the practice of loan repayment.
The Project Officer of NaCSA, Martha Macfoy encouraged the groups to effectively apply their business development skills and other financial literacy trainings that were imparted to them by the Commission through the Africa Foundation for Development (AFFORD) to better manage their businesses.
The Mayor of the Kenema City Council, Joseph Samba Kelfala cautioned the groups against greed and dishonesty as they constitute the factors that are responsible for the low recovery of loans disbursed to people. He admonished the beneficiaries to demonstrate the highest level of sincerity in the repayment of the loans to ensure sustainability of the project.
The representative of Union Trust Bank, Vida Bayoh noted that the loan facility is a huge advantage to the people and the soft repayment system is particularly designed to greatly assist the groups in the development and growth of their business activities. She thanked NaCSA for the partnership.
Union Trust Bank SL Ltd serves as the on- lending bank for the revolving fund to be accessed by groups in Kambia, Bombali, Tonkolili, Kenema, Moyamba districts and the Western Area. The repayment of loan will be monitored and NaCSA as it continues to provide continuous business advisory service to beneficiaries.
By Keifa M. Jaward
Monday July 07, 2014