The Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) says it loan recovery efforts have been significantly impaired by the COVID-19 pandemic, to around 40 percent despite doing about 90 percent before.
Chief Executive of MASLOC, Stephen Amoah, said businesses have been reeling as a resulting of the COVID-19 global outbreak – which has generally affected business operations worldwide.
Global economic prospects were predicted to fall with the onset of the disease, and sub-Saharan Africa was expected to experience a substantial growth downgrade of 2.8 percent. “Emerging markets and developing economies will be buffeted by economic headwinds from multiple quarters,” according to a world bank report for June 2020.
Amid this development, Mr. Amoah said MASLOC has not been able to reach its targetted loan recovery rate over the past few months. He said: “The current recovery rate of loans is not as high as was expected”.
Speaking in an interview at the backdrop of the zonal office opening of MASLOC at Kofrom in the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) of the Ashanti Region, Mr. Amoah said stringent measures are however being pursued to turn things around and improve recovery. These measures, he noted, include decentralisation of MASLOC’s operations as well as the intended rollout of automated services across the country.
The decentralisation, he said, will among others ensure effectiveness and efficiency. He said: “Once you reduce the complexities and the cumbersome nature through which one can access funds, this will be realised”.
He observed it was in line with this that the Krofrom Zonal Office has been established, adding that another office will be added to the region’s present two by close of the year. Additionally, the expected introduction of its automated platform is meant to further ease and enhance accessibility to the fund by small businesses operators and other potential loan applicants.
The start of automated services will as well be supplemented with a point of sale system across the country, which will enable loan beneficiaries to easily access their funds while also making it possible to facilitate loan repayments. Beneficiaries will be issued with cards to enable transactions in addition to allowing them to access money electronically by using their phones.
Mr. Amoah assured that: “The automated platform will ease and reduce complexities in getting monies and reducing turnaround time”. He said the platform will soon take-off, but a few technical measures are being worked on to enable its smooth operation when it starts.
Addressing a gathering of traders and other business operators earlier at the ceremony, he urged applicants to revise any thoughts that MASLOC is a scheme for the ruling government and therefore they will not have to pay back.
He said while MASLOC is expanding offices to enable applicants easily gain access and reduce congestion, it is very important for them to meet the conditions and as well pay back their loans on time so as to enable others to also benefit. “We want to build a sustainable society and community for generations to come,” he said.
The Regional Manager of MASLOC in charge of Bono and Ahafo also appealed that loan beneficiaries should endeavour to pay back loans so that they have the opportunity to further access the facility to expand their businesses. He cautioned that if the funds become locked up, the operations of MASLOC will cease since there will not be funds to disburse for others to operate.