BY BEN BILUA
The interest in the country’s Development Bank (DBSI) is apparently huge in the Western province.
This was clear in the huge turnout for DBSI’s awareness programme in Gizo this week.
Owners of small to medium enterprises as well as informal business operators flooded the conference room eager to listen.
Most participants expressed keen interest in the different types of loans, loan application processes and loan security.
As a result of the throng of interested participants, application forms ran out.
In his presentation, DBSI’s Relationship Manager, Patrick Suti spilled out types of loans, loan processes and requirements, repayment rates and period of payments for different types of loans.
He said DBSI has six lending opportunities under its lending programs.
“The first one is; Livelihood and investment facility which aimed at improving the living standard of people who are formally employed to invest for future benefits.
“The second one is; Investment property loan facility aimed at those who are interested in investing on properties to run a business.
“The third one is; Small and medium enterprise aimed at small to medium enterprises.
“The government also provides other loan opportunities to support respective sectors such as Agriculture, Tourism and Commerce.
“Central Bank of Solomon Islands also provides a scheme to assist applicants in circumstances where applicants security unable to meet the repayment requirements.
“Business Link Pacific also provides special lending opportunity for SMEs that are badly affected by the pandemic.
“The special lending opportunity is to assist SMEs to restart their businesses,” Suti said.
In her presentation, DBSI’s Business Support Officer (SME) Annie S Wate said all the lending opportunities has limits with certain repayment rates.
“For example, loans under the Tourism grant is ranged from 50,000 to 300,000. Percentage rate of payment is eight percent per annum for over five years.
“This is similar for Agriculture,” she said.
Wate said youths and women have special rates – a decision made by the government to encourage women and youths to go into business.
In his opening remarks Suti said the aim of reopening DBSI is to provide sustainable financial services to all Solomon Islanders with particular focus on the development of rural areas.
“Since the closedown of previous DBSI, there was no financial services and lending activities that took place in rural areas.
“Reason is that; rural areas are too risky for commercial banks to invest. That is the gap the government saw to need to reestablish DBSI with one aim and that is to provide financial service for small to medium business in rural areas,” he said.