28 August, 2021, 6:00 pm
Vodafone Fiji has partnered with the Fiji Development Bank (FDB) to disburse the COVID-19 Recovery Credit Guarantee Scheme to FDB customers through M-Paisa.
FDB chief executive officer Saud Minam said this was to reach out to their customers in a convenient and efficient manner as well as maintaining all COVID protocols at the same time.
“A few years ago we had this arrangement done with FDB and Vodafone where the customers could make the payment to FDB through M-Paisa,” he said.
“So we thought about how we could actually disburse these loans into an easier and convenient way to our customers.”
He added FDB could disburse loans up to $5000 under this scheme, through the M-Paisa platform.
Mr Minam also acknowledged the government’s support for putting in $200 million towards this particular scheme where customers could actually apply for loans from $10,000 to $100,000.
“The first two years on this particular loans are, the customers don’t have to pay any interest or the principal payment.
“And those customers will be making the payments after two years.
“There was one segment where the customers still had the account with other banks, so it was one of the main reasons we wanted to get into M-Paisa one as well.
“Some of the customers were not living close to the places where the banks are easily available or the branches, we thought, how do we reach out to those customers.”
FDB has received about 3000 applications as of yesterday out of which 1100 applications have been approved for the total amount of $21m.
“It has been an overwhelming response from our customers and we have been great in terms of providing the services.”
He also thanked the government for providing the avenue for some of the customers who were struggling.
“A lot of time for customers they may not have a bank account and they may need the access to cash. “Cash basically means funding and M-Paisa comes into play and this basically allows them to have access of up to $5000 for their use,” said Mr Minam.
Vodafone Fiji’s regional chief executive officer Pradeep Lal said M-Paisa was a basic financial service in many places which didn’t offer such platforms before.
He said the number of people who remained unbanked had decreased in recent times through M-Paisa.