The scheme, launched on June 4, 2010, is a government initiative in partnership with the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI). Single parent mothers can access loans from $100,000 to $250,000, collateral free at 6% interest for business purposes. Three years is the maximum repayment period.
According to Human Services Minister Priya Manickchand in a recent interview, the programme has surpassed expectations.
“I thought it would be successful but I didn’t think it would be this successful. This programme has transformed the lives of many persons. It has really improved the lives of the persons who are on the programme as well as their dependents,” she said.
GBTI’s Head of Credit Shaliza Shaw on Friday revealed that they had disbursed some GUY$ 190M to 1,029 women up to that date.
She added that they have recorded a 96 percent repayment rate and five persons have already cleared their loans with two in the process of reapplying.
There is a total of GUY$500M available to the scheme on a revolving basis and Manickchand said they will keep WOW running.
“It is going to continue, we are not stopping it … it’s going to continue for a long time.”
Manickchand stated that there was a need for a programme like WOW to give women, who otherwise would not have had access to such capital, the opportunity to change their lives.
“I have seen persons use this facility to acquire more wealth; it’ a snowball effect, just getting bigger and bigger for the individual lives. So while it’s a fantastic programme for government – it makes for great headlines et cetera – when you look at the individuals lives and those of their dependents I have to conclude that this programme is incredibly successful,” she declared.
The minister acknowledged that there were a few recipients who had defaulted on payments but said this was corrected when calls were made to those individuals.
Meanwhile, GBTI is looking at the track record on this initiative in order to decide whether they should extend a similar facility to other borrowers.
“We foresee the possibility of this loan plan being extended to other categories of borrowers. However, given this loan plan is still in its preliminary phase, the bank would wish for more time to elapse to conduct an assessment of the loan plan and evaluate its success before embarking on expanding the scheme,” Shaw said.
In addition to being a single parent mother, the applicant must be registered with the Ministry of Human Services Single Parent Registry and be issued with an introductory letter by the ministry or its representative agency.