[www.inewsguyana.com] – Forty entrepreneurs received their loan approval letters from the Linden Enterprise Network (LEN), during the launch of the micro credit programme on December 10 at the newly refurbished Region 10 Business Centre.
During the launch, President David Granger announced the Linden Action Plan, as he urged residents to rebuild their economy on the four pillars of investment, information, infrastructure and innovation.
The ceremony was also attended by Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin, Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan, Members of Parliament and regional officials. The President congratulated the team at LEN for sticking it out during a difficult period, and pledged that his administration will ensure that the institution remains viable.
“We want to ensure that credit is available to LEN. We want to make sure that Linden becomes the womb for entrepreneurs and young persons who are going into enterprise. We see a role for micro credit and for small enterprises,” he said.
The President also attended a key stakeholders luncheon at Watooka House where he stressed the role Lindeners must play in the development of their town. While the government will play its role, President Granger called for Lindeners to develop a spirit of cooperation.
“The time for confrontation has passed. We now have to go into an era of cooperation…the success of linden, the success of the Upper Demerara-Berbice Region will depend on our ability to combine our energies and to use our god given resources and to improve the lives of our households and our children,” he said.
Announcing the Linden Action Plan at the LEN launch, the Head of State said the first pillar it must be built on is investment.
“You have to have capital… micro credit can transform this community and this region. It can lift people out of poverty. It can establish and boost small businesses and it can create jobs for young people,” the President said. It is for this reason, he added, that micro credit investments are important since many persons are not able to meet the requirements of some commercial banks.
The second pillar on which Government will focus its efforts for the development of Linden is Information. Noting that the world is in the fast paced, information age, the President said telecommunication and information technology are not optional, but rather, obligatory.
Also on the occasion, Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin underscored the importance of investments for micro businesses. He out pointed out that LEN has also been designed to provide the community with the support it needs for a thriving small and micro enterprise sector that can aid in the unemployment issue.
“It is expected that the $100M invested by the government in this programme for the year 2015 would kick start a number of sustainable business activities that will be role model for this community and show case Linden as a place where business can prosper,” the Minister said.
He, however, noted that the success of LEN will depend heavily on how well the programme is managed and implemented and how prudent the recipients are in term of sticking to their obligation to repay.
In 2015 National Budget, LEN received an allocation of $155M to operate. With this allocation, the institution was able to add to its staff complement to better serve the community, and the much-needed amenities in the building were restored. [Extracted and modified from Ministry of the Presidency]