Close to 2,500 Fijian Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have so far received loans of up to $15 million, under the Fijian Government’s COVID-19 Concessional Loan Packages.
The Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, Hon. Faiyaz Siddiq Koya, said that the MSME Concessional Loan was designed to assist Fijian MSMEs remain afloat and encourage those venturing into new businesses.
“As part of our economic recovery efforts, the loans are expected to generate much needed business activity in economically depressed areas.
This intervention by the Government was needed to ensure that the grassroot community continued their businesses, which will create employment and livelihoods within the community” stated Hon. Koya.
Hon. Koya further stated that these loans will support those MSMEs that intend to diversify or re-model their business operations as part of their adaption strategy in light of the economic situation.
“Most MSMEs that directly or indirectly depended on the tourism sector, have re-adjusted their operations and diversified into other activities to remain operational. For example, handicraft sellers have now switched to catering business to earn a living” said Hon. Koya.
To date, Business Assistance Fiji (BAF) has received applications from Fijians who once worked in the tourism industry and have been laid off. With their particular skill sets, some have started their own business and are very enterprising.
Forty-four percent of applications were from new micro enterprises and are Fijians with vigour to restart their lives.
The assessments for the remaining applications is on-going by the BAF Working Group, that is made up of leading private sector bodies, such as Fiji Institute of Accountants, Fiji Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Women in Business and Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation. Of the 9,000 applications received, more than 5,000 applications have been assessed, of which close to 4,000 applications valued at $23.5 million have been approved.
The Hon. Minister reminded approved applicants that have been contacted by the Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport (Ministry) to urgently provide their quotations in order to expedite the process.Under this initiative, micro enterprises qualified for a loan up to $7,000, small enterprises qualified up to $14,000 and medium enterprises qualified for a maximum loan of $21,000.
The loan is for a 5-year term with MSMEs given a grace period in the first year and repayments commencing the second year. MSMEs that have applied for the Concessional Loan can call the Ministry’s MSME helpline on 9986014.