Business News of Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Source: B&FT

MASLOC loans are not ‘political cake’- B/A Manager

The Brong Ahafo Regional Manager of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), Mr. Abdulai Issah, has condemned the attitude of some MASLOC loan beneficiaries who think that the facility is a ‘political cake’ -- and because of that have exhibited extreme reluctance to pay back.

According to him, beneficiaries should consider the fact that interest rate of MASLOC facilities is 2% per month, which is relatively lower than other loan facilities with rates ranging between 4-8%. He advises that it is business-prudent for beneficiaries to adhere to loan agreements to guarantee them future benefits, as well as to sustain the Centre to assist other potential clients in society.

The failure of some beneficiaries of the facility in the region to settle their indebtedness on time, for reasons best known to themselves, has caused their outstanding amount as well as the interest to accrue to thousands of Ghana cedis in the last two years.

The total amount of outstanding loans in the region between 2010 and 2012 is now GH¢610,664. The figure is a fraction of the GH¢2,561,470 MASLOC gave out to 6,412 beneficiaries in the region. So far, personnel from MASLOC have managed to retrieve at total of GH¢1,424,883.77 out of GH¢2,035,548

Mr. Issah said though the outstanding figure is quite huge, the situation shows an improved recovery rate as compared to the last four years.

“The current recovery rate in the region is 70% whilst in 2008 the recovery rate was 5%. Among the eight demarcated MASLOC Zones in Brong-Ahafo -- Sunyani, Techiman, Bechem, Goaso, Dormaa, Kintampo, Atebubu and Sampa -- the Dormaa zone has the lowest recovery rate. Beneficiaries at Wamfie in that zone are the worst among their peers,” he stressed.

He has expressed his optimism that with time the Centre will be adequately resourced to enhance their operations in the region.

Highlighting the sub-sectors his outfit has been dealing with over the years, he stated that the bulk of the money they gave out was allocated to micro enterprises and agro-marketing.

“400,474 beneficiaries were assisted under the portfolio of micro enterprise; 1,621 were supported under agro-marketing (trading in foodstuffs such as maize and yams); and 209 others received loans for fish mongering (mostly around Pru and Sene areas). Under food-crop production, MASLOC gave out loans to 108 people,” Mr. Issah revealed.

Most of the beneficiaries are into group loans as their groups serve as collateral for them -- the reason being that many business operators in Brong-Ahafo, especially women, are petty traders, and therefore the formation of a group enhances their chances of benefitting from MASLOC.

Mr. Issah pointed out that plans are in hand to cast their net wide to players in aquaculture (construction of fish ponds and fish farming) in the ensuing years.

MASLOC was established in 2006 as a microfinance apex body responsible for implementing the Government of Ghana’s (GoG) microfinance programmes targetted at reducing poverty, creating jobs and wealth.