News Column

$20m Philippine microfinance plan to give poor shot in arm

February 16, 2014

Manolo B. Jara MANILA President Benigno Aquino has established a $20 million credit facility designed to benefit and help improve the lives of about one million farmers and fishermen in the country's 20 poorest provinces, according to Malacanang Palace. Malacanang said the $20 million was turned over to the state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines mandated to implement the programme through its subsidiary and microfinance provider the People's Credit and Finance Corporation. Officials pointed out poor farmers and fishermen could borrow as much as $7,000 each on easy terms because the fund was a flexible credit facility to serve as an alternative to the "rigid and stringent credit facilities usually provided by banks." "Although the local banking sector is known to have more than sufficient funds for lending, access to these funds by smallholders in the agriculture sectors remains constrained," officials stressed. However, officials said the qualified borrowers of more than one million could come only from the farmers and fishermen listed in the Registry System of Basic Services in Agriculture, a census meant to ensure that the borrowers were qualified. Nevertheless, they assured that other potential borrowers identified in the census like goat raisers could also avail of the facility. The facility, Malacanang stressed, was part of Aquino's vow to pour in more funds for the country's 20 poorest provinces for the remaining years of his presidency, which is to end in June 2016.OMAN TRIBUNE

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Source: Oman Tribune

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