SMALL Entrepreneurs Loan Facility (SELF) has granted loans worth 590m/- to seven microfinance institutions, thus contributing significantly to government efforts of lifting the masses out of poverty.
SELF's Project Manager, Mr Abbiah Kaaya, told a news conference in Dar es Salaam over the weekend 375 institutions have benefitted from the loan facility, of which 85 per cent are Savings and Credit Co-operative Society (SA CCOS) in small towns and villages.
"It is an important milestone to extend the loan facility to seven microfinance institutions from six regions, an initiative that implies more people have the opportunity to access finance with an end goal of improving living standards," he said.
The microfinance institutions benefitted from this round of loan disbursement include Pride RFW from Arusha Region, Kibo Saccos and Hozen Saccos from Dodoma Region, Tuyombeke Saccos from Ukerewe, Mwanza Region.
Others are Amani Division Saccos from Tanga Region, Manzese Youth and Jiajiri Microfinance Limited from Dar es Salaam. Mr Kaaya added that SELF has thus far disbursed loans worth 10.3bn/- since it became operational, with majority of the beneficiaries being low income earners from urban and rural areas.
To ensure the disbursed loans were effective in creating more jobs and alleviating poverty, he said SELF has been serious in ensuring the microfinance institutions maintain good governance and provide better services to the people.
"Reduction of poverty through facilitation of sustainable micro-finance services aimed at enhancing economic opportunity and welfare of enterprising rural and urban poor has been of paramount importance," he noted.
In the meantime, he said, plans were underway to transform SELF project into a financial institution before end of the year, for it to explore fully the opportunity of serving majority of people especially in rural areas.
The facility strives further to enhance the rural people's access to micro finance by the way of credit and savings, sensitisation and catalyzing the formation of the community based organisations.
The representative from PRIDE RFW Limited said his facility has been providing loans to farmers for the purchase of farm inputs and farming costs.
He said the initiative has been playing vital role in empowering farmers to expand their agriculture activities in Arusha Region.
SELF focuses at wholesaling loan funds to intermediaries such as Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SA CCOs) and Microfinance Finance Institutions (MFIs) at market interest rates applicable to the relevant loan product.