By Momodou Jarju
The ministry of women, children and social welfare has revealed its plan to create a Women Bank through a ‘Women Enterprise Fund’ it is working on to get it approved.
The minister of the aforesaid ministry, Mrs. Fatou Kinteh, while speaking recently before the national assembly, said the longtime objective of the Women Enterprise Fund is to create a women bank that will ensure Gambian women have access to funds to benefit their work.
Already, she said Cabinet has approved the Women Enterprise Fund proposal. She was responding to oral questions at the assembly while presenting on the Women Enterprise Fund Bill, 2020. She asked the national assembly to consider the proposal she made before them.
The national assembly unanimously voted for the deferment of the bill to the Assembly Business Committee to discuss and allocate the bill to the relevant Committee.
“For the Women Enterprise Fund, EU has pledged three million euro and the Government of The Gambia six million dalasis (D6, 000, 000.00),” she said. “And we have opened an account with the Central Bank of The Gambia, the monies will be lodged into that account and as people and individuals apply, they will be assessed base on set criteria, once they are qualified then they will be contacted again to see whether they have livelihood skills of their choice.”
Minister Kinteh further said if the women have livelihood skills, they will train them on entrepreneurship before the funds are disbursed. But if they don’t have livelihood skills, she said they will train them on livelihood skills and entrepreneurship before the funds are disbursed.
The public officer said their staff will work closely with women to encourage them build a saving culture, adding that the initiative would be like a loan scheme that would incur very low interest rate.
“The reason being is women don’t have Title deeds,” she said.
She added the banks ask for collateral and in most cases the women do not have title deeds.
She said: “And the few who have Title Deed, when you eventually submit it to the bank, the interest rates are so high, you end up becoming poorer by the time you finish paying the loan,” the minister said.