In a bid to empower women who engage in Micro, Small and Medium enterprises (MSMEs) Rokel Commercial Bank, one of the leading financial institutions in Sierra Leone on Monday 1st August 2022 loaned 101 million Leones to Krootown Road Market Women.
In his statement during the symbolic handing over ceremony of the cheque to the beneficiaries, the Managing Director of the Rokel Commercial Bank Dr Enkudayo Walton Gilpin said what they want to do is to relate themselves with the market women who are in small and medium enterprises. He went on to state that one of the functions of bankers is not only to sit in the air conditions, with a coat and tie but to help the smaller businesses thereby growing the economy together.
It is against this backdrop that the RCB has moved to various markets at Western Area Urban to provide loan facilities for these MSMEs. He encouraged these women to pay these loans back to the bank as the money they are giving them does not belong to the management and staff of the bank but belongs to shareholders. He notes that their interest rate is better than other commercial banks, thus making them the people’s banks. Adding that with these loans facilities for this sector he believed will grow the economy together as they at management are not the only one that should enjoy the facility but every Sierra Leoneans deserved it.
Director of Credit Risk Department at Rokel Commercial Bank Morrison Conteh noted that the beneficiaries are happy to receive these loans but for him the only time he will be happy is when these women go through a repayment schedule which is a policy to recover loans. He further that over the years they have been having challenges recovering loans from Sierra Leoneans particularly the smaller business owners who have wrong notions that the loan provided to them by commercial banks is political money, therefore they should deviate from this perception. He disclosed that the Rokel Commercial Bank had stopped giving out loans to Small and Medium Enterprise owners in Sierra Leone long because of these risk factors. He assured these women that they want to maintain a chain of relationships with the market women but the only way to do that is to pay the loan back.
Constituency 125 Women’s Leader of the Ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) Madam Hawa Rogers commended the Rokel Commercial Bank for providing the loan for Krootown Road Market. She commended the Managing Director of RCB whose leadership has continued to raise the banner of the bank higher on daily basis. She emphasized that women should have credibility and put politics aside and concentrate on development.
Manager of SMEs Department at RCB Haja Fanta Jalloh made mentioned of financial inclusion strategy of the bank adding that they want to bring everybody onboard in the banking system as they believed that will enable market women or smaller business owners to loan facility from RCB. She encouraged them to embrace the habit of saving, as it is good for them and their children, noting that the hundred and one million Leones are a pilot phase as more is there to come if the market women comply with the loan repayment policy.
Ramatu Bangura, chairlady of the Krootown road market women group thanked Rokel Commercial Bank for providing the loan to them and promised that they would not let the bank down. She confessed that they have never had this kind of opportunity from any commercial banks in the country, therefore, they will make sure that they live up to the expectations of the bank. She end.