P282M in loans for small entrepreneurs in Caraga

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/10 August) — The Department of Trade and Industry’s foreign funded Rural Micro Enterprise Promotion program (RuMEPT) in Caraga region has released a total of P282,134,650 in loans to 21,123 countryside-based small entrepreneurs for them to operate profitable and sustainable businesses.

Arnold Faelnar, business development division chief of the DTI regional office, said the loans averaging P15,000 per entrepreneur were coursed through RuMEPT’s partner microfinance institutions or MFIs in the region.

Faelnar said RuMEPT’s partner MFIs in Cataga include the Green Bank of Caraga, People’s Bank of Caraga, Enterprise Bank, Talacogon Multipurpose Development Cooperative, Siargao Rural Bank and Rural Bank of Placer, Rural Bank of Cantilan and Socorro Empowered Cooperative.

DTI records showed that P134.5 million or almost half of the total loan fund was released to 13,152 borrowers from Agusan del Norte through the Green Bank of Caraga.

Agusan del Sur got the second highest amount of loan releases from the program amounting to P67.2 million for 2,947 entrepreneurs followed by Surigao del Sur’s P59.3 million for 4,311 small businessmen. Surigao del Norte cornered only 7% or P21.1 million for 527 borrowers.

RuMEPT is a 7-year US$22.826-million program assisted by the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) with the DTI as the lead government implementing agency.

The RuMEPT program aims to help poor entrepreneurs and rural families in the country by providing them access to credit and other services coupled with business development service such as capacity-building, market linkages and product development component.

Faelnar said the Small Business Corporation, a DTI-attached agency, would implement the microfinance component while the Regional Operations and Development Group through its five regional offices and 19 provincial office would facilitate the microenterprise development component,

He said the program is now implemented in the country’s 19 poorest provinces in five poorest regions focusing on areas with the highest potential for enterprise development. (Alden Pantaleon, Jr./MindaNews)