UNDP signed Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Tourism, Commerce and Industry (MTCI) to implement a Social Business Loan Guarantee Scheme. (Image/UNDP Timor-Leste)

DILI, 21 September 2020 (TATOLI)- The Government’s Ministry of Tourism, Commerce and Industry (MTCI) with the support from the United Nation Development Program (UNDP) launched a “social business loan guarantee scheme” for social entrepreneurs with a 3% interest charge fee.

“We agree with the UNDP to launch the program which ensures that small micro and medium enterprises specifically aimed at supporting the youth, More companies are beginning to open, and others are in the planning phase of starting their businesses,” Vice-Minister of Tourism, Domingos Lopes Antunes at the launching ceremony of soft loan program at Fomento Dili.

MTCI Minister, Joaquim Antunes, signed Mou with the Representative of UNDP to Timor-Leste, Munkhtuya Altangerel (Image/UNDP Timor-Leste)

Tourism Vice-Minister, Domingos Lopes Antunes represent the Government signed the technical agreement with the Representative of UNDP to Timor-Leste, Munkhtuya Altangerel to support the program.

This program will focus on agriculture, tourism, fishery, veterinary, industry and commerce business firms to create more working options in Timor-Leste.

The agreement will provide a three percent credit fee to every small firm and the medium enterprise which meet the criteria to access the soft loan which is also include the period of three to six months.

“The firms will not be paying directly to the bank; despite they will pay after three to six months once they have the income along with the charge fee,” Vice-Minister said.

The MTCI and the UNDP have transferred a total of $480.000 a month to the BNCTL to support the program.

“MTCI will join the PNUD, BNCTL and IADE to see the guidance implementation of this program to the credit facilities for social enterprises to avoid the troubles when they accessed to the program when they have the criteria for the business plan,” he said.

First Credit Period is $1.000 to $25000

Mr Antunes acknowledge the fund is small and includes a charge fee, which means many companies are not going to have access when there are many applicants.

“We think, we will propose to the government for the addition of $480.000 budget in 2021, for the companies within 12 municipalities to access include Oé-cusse and Ambeno,” he said.

According to him, this program has just begun, the government will start to provide a small number of loans with the charge of 3%. However, there is planning for larger amounts once the companies are successful in their business.

This program will be available to all municipalities, to ensure access by the youth and the companies from the districts, as an encouragement to make a good business plan.

Representative of UNDP to Timor-Leste, Munkhtuya Altangerel said UNDP is very proud to direct its focus towards the people, because it is the people that needs the supports the most.

“We are going beyond Dili based enterprises and small businesses that are opening up slowly but surely in remote areas and municipalities. We hope that this project will turn into revolving and sustainable funding scheme,” Ms. Altangerel said.

Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP to Timor-Leste, Lazima Onta-Bhatta, congratulated the Government for the efforts to support provided to the social enterprises to access the credit because development is vital to create jobs and economic diversification.

“I ask the MTCI and the BNCTL to secure the funds and make good evaluations as well as implementation with a balance to all the social companies,” she said.

Journalist: Florêncio Miranda Ximenes

Editor: Julia Chatarina

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