Rural Women's Parliament wants SME Bank decentralised

05 Feb 2014 12:10pm
WINDHOEK, 05 FEB (NAMPA) - Members of the Second Rural Women’s Parliament with Male Partners have called for the decentralisation of the Small and Medium Enterprises’ (SMEs) Bank to enable people at grassroots’ level to obtain loans.
A member of the Second Rural Women’s Parliament with Male Partners, David Eiseb, made this appeal in the National Council on Tuesday.
The three-day Second Rural Women’s Parliament with Male Partners is taking place in the capital under the theme “Moving Forward - Breaking the Cycle. The time is now”.
“We want you to speed up the process of rolling-out the SME Bank for people in the rural areas to benefit. We want to start businesses, but do not have start-up capital,” Eiseb stated.
He applauded the bank for not asking for collateral when people borrow money, and also asked if the bank could fund the installation of water tanks.
Martha Pietersen, a member of the Women’s Parliament from the Erongo Region, thanked Government for starting a bank to assist SMEs in the country.
Pietersen said the mentoring programme rendered by that bank will empower most women in the communities to start businesses and support their families.
“However, I want to find out how this bank is different from the commercial banks in terms of loan requirements and interests?” she asked.
The SME Bank's Head of SME Banking, Matti Kanalelo assured the gathered members that the bank will look into the their concerns, and make sure that the services are taken to people at grassroots’ level.
Kanalelo said the institution will open branches in Katutura and Windhoek- North in the capital, at Rundu as well as at Ongwediva to cater for the northern regions of Oshana, Omusati, Oshikoto and Ohangwena.
“We are currently negotiating with the Ministry of Trade and Industry to make use of their office space in providing loan application forms and other bank information closer to people,” he noted.
Kanalelo said the bank is prepared to fund any type of business, except gambling businesses and other ‘destructive’ types of businesses.
He thus encouraged women to visit the bank to obtain information about its services.
Requirements for funding differ between small and big businesses, and could include the provision of a business plan, identity documents, payslips, marriage certificates and bank statements.
The SME Bank opened its doors in the capital during December 2012.
It provides loans starting from N.dollars 1 000 to upcoming SMEs.
Although the bank will operate as a fully-licensed commercial bank, its main aim is to provide access to finance for businesses owned by previously disadvantaged groups who fail to obtain lending from commercial banks because of a lack of collateral.
Meanwhile, the Rural Women’s Parliament was an initiative started after a Resolution of the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women and the National Council’s Women’s Caucus.
It deals with issues affecting women, especially from grassroots’ level.
The current session started on Tuesday, and ends on Thursday.