Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips yesterday afternoon presented over $1.7M in equipment to six women of Mocha-Arcadia, during a simple ceremony at his office to launch a revolving fund for female micro-enterprise owners.
Each recipient is expected to repay 60% of the value of their items, with their first instalment due two months from today.
Overall, they have a maximum of 18 months to repay the interest-free debt, which will be placed into a revolving fund to provide similar assistance to additional persons.
The Prime Minister said that he expects that the beneficiaries will utilise the opportunity to build their businesses and contribute to the development of their communities by turning their micro-businesses into small and medium-sized ventures.
“It is the intention of my office and other agencies of our Government to support micro-enterprise and to empower our women…. When I took the oath of office as Prime Minister, one of the things I said is that I will be Prime Minister for all of the people of Guyana”.
The recipients: Adwoa Adams, Anola Johnson, Beverly Mc Lean, Ester Barker, Mandy Gillis and Shelene Jones, are all proprietors of small businesses within the community.
The initiative which is themed “Empowering Women: Improving Village Economies” is expected to be replicated throughout various communities around the country.
“It is our Government’s intention to go into every community throughout the country and support the development and the wellbeing of the people”.
Chairman of the Mocha-Arcadia Neighbourhood Democratic Council, Mr Rudolph Adams said that the initiative will assist the community in achieving its economic agenda.
“We have been working with the different Ministries and now I’m proud to say that we are benefitting from the Office of the Prime Minister”.
Final year Agriculture student of the University of Guyana and farmer, Ms Ester Barker received a weeding machine to assist her with vegetation management of a one-acre plot of land where she farms permanent crops (fruit trees).
She applauded the initiative and pointed out that it is needed at the community level.
“This assistance will help me greatly…I think it’s a great initiative in terms of empowering women and improving their livelihoods … it will also assist our village economy by growing our businesses so that we can purchase from each other”.
Ms Jones, received a Rotisserie machine to enhance her business in chicken and ham production.
She said that a significant challenge has been access to finance to expand her business, but she has been persistent.
“Despite the challenges, it is important to keep at it, because growth in business does not come overnight. One has to be consistent and keep working hard”.
Also present during the event was Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Public Affairs, Honourable Kwame Mc Coy and the Prime Minister’s Representative for Region Four, Bishop Patrick Findlay.