The National, Thursday 6th June 2013
BUSINESS activities in Eastern Highlands are expected to increase with the opening of the Okapa district credit scheme last Friday.
The scheme was launched at the Alekano Savings and Loan Society office in Goroka with the official hand over of four vehicles to recipients who applied for loans under the scheme.
Alekano general manager Reuben Elijah says: “The credit scheme is a revolving fund raised by local MP Isaac Waigavara and the Okapa joint district planning and budgets prioritising committee (JDPBPC).
“It will try to help as many people as possible in future.”
Waigavara and Okapa JDPBPC funded the scheme with K420,000 and more funds are expected to boost the credit facility.
“Loans under this scheme range from the minimum of K5,000 to the maximum of K80,000.
“Loan interest will be 1% monthly on the balance which is cheap compared to fixed interest rates charged by commercial banks and other financial institutions.
“Loan term will be for 36 months,” he said.
Waigavara said he wanted to empower the Okapa people to help them participate in the economic development of the district.
This is the reason why he committed funding under the economic sector grants, he said.
Waigavara chose Alekano Savings to start the credit scheme as he had its confidence.
Goroka businessman Michael Gotaha praised Waigavara for initiating the scheme.
He urged the people to be proud of being farmers and to work hard to create wealth for themselves.
Gotaha said: “We do not have gold, copper or oil but what we have is agriculture to drive our province forward … so we must not sit back and expect handouts from our political leaders, but grow instead our coffee and vegetables.”
He added that the Eastern Highlands provincial government has in this year’s budget set aside K1.6 million to Eastern Highlands women’s credit Sscheme.
They are still deciding which financial institution should deliver this project.