By Moses Nyirenda
Lilongwe, October 16, Mana: Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Patricia Kaliati, has asked financial institutions in the country to invest in women by providing them with loans to boost their small-scale businesses.
Speaking on the sidelines of a press briefing at Capital Hill in Lilongwe, Kaliati said financial institutions in the country, especially banks, should provide loans to women with reasonable conditions.
“There are some banks which ask women to deposit money to their bank accounts for three months in order for them to be given loans. This is very unfortunate because if the women had money, they could not have asked for a loan.
“Therefore, it is my plea to the banks that they should be lenient to women from low income generating families so that they should have easy access to loans that would support their small scale businesses,” Kaliati said.
The minister, therefore, encouraged women to form groups that would make money-lending institutions to build trust and provide them with loans without doubt.
She also tipped the women who want loans but do not have businesses to start any simple business which she said might motivate money-lending institutions to provide them with loans.
“We are encouraging women who have no businesses to start up small businesses such as poultry, banana and soya farming or any other simple business.
“Through that, we hope that banks would be encouraged to provide loans to these women,” she said.
According to Kaliati, among other initiatives, government is currently providing funds to women from underprivileged households through social cash transfer, as a way of boosting their social economic growth.
In her remarks, United Nations (UN) Women Malawi Representative, Clara Anyangwe, said UN Women is helping the Malawi Government in ensuring that women in the country have access to productive resources.
‘We are making sure that women have access to markets for their commodities such as farm products. We are also ensuring that women have information related to financial management and access to credit.
“Above all, we are also supporting women farmers on value addition to their farm products and on this, we are looking at specific agricultural value chains such as beans and rice value chains,” she said.