January 28: Women entrepreneurs have said that the subsidized loan provided by the central bank is not easily accessible. They complain that even though the government brings such schemes for public welfare, they do not reach the target population.
Women entrepreneurs participating in the interaction programme on financial literacy organized on Monday expressed this grievance. The interaction programme was organized by New Business Age and Kailali Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Hira Bohara Bhandari, one of the entrepreneurs participating in the programme, claimed that women entrepreneurs of the far-western region could also compete nationally and internationally. “But the banks need to provide us with the required loans easily,” she said. She asked the concerned authorities to look into the matter and ease the availability of loans for women in business.
Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) introduced the policy of providing subsidized loans under various categories last year. Under the policy, commercial banks can provide loans to entrepreneurs at a premium of 2 percent added on to their regular base rate. The government will further provide a subsidy of 6 percent on the interest rates of loans provided to women entrepreneurs and 5 percent on loans provided under other categories. Moreover, women entrepreneurs are entitled to a loan of up to Rs 1.5 million without any collateral under this policy.
Director of NRB Dhangadhi branch Nischal Adhikari said that women entrepreneurs themselves were unaware about the subsidized loans made available for them. But he did acknowledge that women were facing problems in trying to access these loans and expressed NRB’s commitment to solving them.
Similarly, Nrip Bahadur Kunwar, mayor of Dhangadhi Sub-Metropolitan City and chief guest of the programme, stressed the role NRB and other banks needed to play in order to increase financial literacy in Sudurpaschim province.
More than 200 participants attended the interaction programme including women entrepreneurs, representatives of banks and financial institutions and the head of the Kailali Customs Office, the head of the Inland Revenue Office, Dhangadhi and the head of Cottage and Small Industry Office, Dhangadhi.
New Business Age has been organizing interaction and training programmes for women entrepreneurs in 10 different industrial cities in coordination with the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI). These programmes are aimed at making the upcoming Business Women Awards as effective as possible. The award is being organized by New Business Age in March.
The title sponsor of the programme is Standard Chartered Bank Limited and it was organized in association with Muktinath Development Bank. FNCCI along with chambers of 10 different districts and Federation of Woman Entrepreneurs' Association of Nepal (FEWAN) are associate partners for the event while Star Hospital is the medical partner. The programme is also supported by Sitaram Gokul Milks, Nimbus Group, Progressive Finance and Reliable Life Insurance.