D.B.S. assists unemployed women and youths with loans

A total of 778 farmers from Savaii have benefited from a loan programme under the Development Bank of Samoa (D.B.S.).

This was highlighted by Migao Tiotio Fanene, Manager of Savaii D.B.S. branch last week in an interview with Samoa Observer.

D.B.S. launched their ‘Inclusive Development Facility for Women and Youth’ programme in 2016 at Savaii.

Ms. Fanene said that the aim of the programme is to provide equal opportunities, in terms of financial assistance in the form of loans to women and youths who are unemployed.

“We are well aware that loans are only offered to those who are employed,” she said.

The selection process for applicants to be eligible in the programme is for them to have developments like plantations, vegetable gardens, and cattle farms so that they are able to pay back the loan after a certain period of time.

“But there are additional factors to consider like the village mayors have to sign in approval of that individual on the basis of being well-mannered and that the assets used by the applicant for a loan belong to them.

“It is very significant to consider if that person has a good character so they will be able to pay back the loaning amount.

“The programme has three tiers and the first tier or loaning assistance is worth $2,500 but the full amount is not given all at once, first they are given $1,500 then an assessment visit by us is done to see if the first half of the money was used wisely but they will have to pay back the full amount in a period of three years’ time.”

The advantage of tier one is that they are given 12 months without loan payments with the hope to start and improve their developments.

“Applicants are eligible to the second tier if they have already paid off the loan but they must have log books to keep records of how the money was spent and money received.

“The second tier worth $5,000 but they will not have a 12 month period not to provide loan payments because the development should have kicked off and be able to provide financial stability to pay consistently.

“The third tier is worth $7,500 and if you have paid off the second tier then you are entitled to it; the security of the programme is a group guarantee with a minimum of four and maximum of five people.”

She said that the piloting of the programme is done in Savaii and so the programme coming to Upolu depends on the success in Savaii.

“We have witnessed the success of the programme because some of the applicants have finished paying off their loans before the loaning period ends.

“The only challenge is the expensive costs of monitoring because we do awareness, outreach programmes and when we do loans, we travel to the people to fill the application of loans in their villages.

“The only time they come to the office is when they come to claim their cheques.”

She added that in Savaii there are only four villages who are not involved in this initiative but all the other villages have been covered.

One of the applicants for the loaning programme, Keleni Taala from Sasaai acknowledged D.B.S. for the assistance that enabled his family to escape poverty.

“Our family depends on our plantation for survival; we grow bananas and taro. 

“Before joining the programme we earned little money but it could not cover all our expenses and now we earn money every day but it is true what they say that hard work pays off.”

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