$1.5m loan – Assistance for more micro-entrepreneurs

Fiji Development Bank provided a further loan of $1.5 million to the South Pacifi c Business Development (SPBD) Microfi nance Fiji yesterday. Picture: ABISHEK CHAND

The Fiji Development Bank is providing a further loan of $1.5 million to the South Pacific Business Development (SPBD) Microfinance Fiji to extend its network of assistance to more micro-entrepreneurs.

FDB chief executive officer Saud Minam said it was in their mandate to continue to serve those segments which basically did not have accessible banking from the other banks, these would be SME’s.

“As part of the vision and mission for FDB our main focus is SMEs as well as the agriculture and now with the partnership with SPBD, we will be able to reach out to a lot more customers especially the MSMEs and women entrepreneurs through the support of FDB,” he said.

Mr Minam said one of the main reasons for this partnership SPBD was to make sure FDB could reach out to remote places where banks could not. About 83 per cent of the bank’s portfolio belongs to the SME as well as the agriculture sector, said the CEO.

In the next few months FDB will be rolling out a program in terms of providing a financial literacy program for the SME as well as the agriculture sector.

Mr Minam said FDB was transforming and would continue to transform in terms of making sure that its core business remained with the SMEs as well as the agriculture but also had their means of transaction to be digital.

SPBD board director Lorraine Seeto said FDB had provided a loan earlier in 2014, of $2m. This was aimed at increasing SPBD’s capacities to reach out to the women micro-entrepreneurs in the rural areas.

“We are indeed grateful for the continuous collaboration that we have had over the years with FDB and look forward to more opportunities with FDB in time to come,” she said. “FDB has been one of our partners along our journey since operating in Fiji from November 2010.”

Ms Seeto said in late 2021, SPBD opened a branch in Taveuni and in March they opened a branch in Ovalau.

“We are scouting for a branch in Kadavu and hope to establish one there in the latter part of this year. Next Friday, SPBD will be relocating its office in Sigatoka where the facilities for our valued members will be better met.”

She said this branch would provide training rooms for their members and with their increasing outreach they anticipated their membership to grow as well.

Minister for Women, Rosy Akbar said FDB had launched four new products including Farming for Retirement, Revolving Credit Facility, Agricultural Value Chain Financing Lending Platform and SME Sustainability Package.

She said the bank was additionally tweaking a number of existing products to better accommodate the current demanding economic conditions.

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