Women in the Prestea Huni-Valley District of the Western Region, are to benefit from a microfinance scheme established by the Member of Parliament for the area, Mrs Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, to facilitate access to small loans to expand their businesses.
Known as the Obaapa Micro Loan Scheme (OMLS), the facility would serve as a revolving fund aimed at addressing the challenges faced by women who are unable to access traditional financial services at the banks due to the rigorous requirements.
To ensure easy administration, the scheme which was started with a seed money of GH¢12,000 would be managed in collaboration with the Fiaseman Rural Bank.
Mrs Oteng-Gyasi has further set up the Wassa Hemaa Foundation, as the body to monitor the various social intervention programmes being implemented by the MP for the area.
Launching the scheme at Bogoso, the Second Lady, Mrs Samira Bawumia also contributed GH¢20,000 to the scheme.
She lauded Mrs Oteng-Gyasi for her concern for the welfare of the women in her constituency and said her actions were in line with the government’s commitment to make life comfortable for Ghanaians through various social intervention programmes.
Mrs Bawumia further urged the women to take good care of the money and be faithful in paying back the loans so they can continue to benefit from the scheme.
In her remarks, Mrs Oteng-Gyasi said the main purpose of the scheme was to help the women, especially, those in the smaller communities who needed just a small financial push to expand their businesses but could not enter the traditional financial institution for that much needed support.
“Considering the industrious nature of women, the scheme is what they need to complement their efforts.
It is the women who support the home and the development of their communities, therefore, we need to pay serious attention to them,” she said.
Mrs Oteng-Gyasi, who is also the Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, urged the women not to yield to spousal or family pressures to divert the use of the money for other purposes that would make it difficult for them to expand their businesses or repay the loans.
Mrs Oteng-Gyasi observed that it was sad that when women enter the banks for assistance, they were asked to bring collateral, stressing that even the long procedures they had to go through was not the best.
Hence, their uphill task to support the growth of their businesses which ultimately benefits their families, and to a large extent, their communities, are mostly truncated due to lack of funds, Mr Oteng- Gyasi stated.
“The procedures for Obaapa Micro Loan Scheme has been made simple and easy for the women, and the applicant is expected to lead the managers to their trading area for assessment and recommendation for the loan,” the MP said.
The women, she explained do not need too much money to expand their businesses, and disclosed that the scheme starts with ¢500.00 for each applicant.
“I must assure you that, if you are able to trade with it, keep to the repayment schedules, you are at liberty to reapply for more and double the amount.
I am also appealing to you to ensure that the money is used for trading,” she assured the women.
Mrs Oteng-Gyasi also used the opportunity to inform the community about other social interventions that she had provided with the support from various companies and through her own initiatives.
These include renovation works of the Aboso Health Centre, the St Augustine SHS Science Laboratory, and the Aboso Library.
Others are the provision of incubator to the Prestea Government Hospital and expansion of Children’s ward, provision of mechanised boreholes for six rural communities each year, commencement of the construction of Municipal Hospital at Bogoso, presentation of eight motorbikes for the Ghana Education Service in the district, presentation of 50 cocoa spraying machines and support for cocoa pollinators of the Coco Seedling project at Nsuaem and free vacation classes for students in all the three senior high schools in the municipal.