The National, Thursday 30th May 2013
FUNDS available for small medium enterprise (SMEs) will be issued to first time borrowers only as an initiative aiming to assist as many local farmers as possible, Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru told Parliament yesterday.
Responding to a question by Ambunti-Dreikikir MP Tony Aimo, Maru said K40 million with a 6.5% interest was with the National Development Bank and available to local farmers and entrepreneurs interested to start small businesses.
“I am not the minister responsible for banks but I know that Treasury has released K40 million to the bank,” he said.
“The NDB board has sat and instructed that those who have loans from other banks will not be allowed to get loan from this money.
“This is for those first-time borrowers that do not have current loans because the bank will not refinance the existing loans and by doing that we will encourage more Papua New Guineans to go into business.
“I know the board has instructed to do that but we will ensure the they announce this publicly together with the guidelines,” Maru said.
Maru was the managing director for NDB before he entered politics last year.
The government allocated K80 million for SMEs in the 2013 budget of which half-a-million has been released.
The SME is a government stimulus initiative to kick-start the sector for aspiring Papua New Guineans following an indigenous businesses conference held in Kokopo.
Aimo said the guidelines should be good so that the fund is distributed equally to every province and benefits all the people who need it.