Delivering the keynote address the Acting Minister of Trade and Industry Mabinty Daramy spoke about the negative impact of the Ebola Virus Disease on the economy and applauded the NGO consortium for their intervention in supporting petty traders to recover.
She also said that the interest rate for beneficiaries of the project is at 5% and urged partners to embrace the project for the revitalization of the economy.
Marlon Bockarie Conteh from the office of the President while chairing the opening ceremony said the Ebola outbreak disrupted progress made in the socio-economic development of the country and after the epidemic the Government has a plan for post ebola recovery.
He said we want to ensure that ebola affected petty traders recover from the post ebola loss to enable promote economic growth as the private sector is the major contributor to development
The National Director of World Vision Leslie Scott said the project is aimed at kick starting economic recovery he said there will be grant provided to beneficiaries which automatically qualifies them to access loan.
He said access to finance is a major challenge to the private sector especially petty traders adding that a proper monitoring mechanism and the project is going to address the problem
He added that beneficiaries of the project should be a able to explain the impact of the project in addressing their needs by taking care of their children and the home with an improved income generation.
He said the consortium has the required expertise to make the project implementation a success and implored stakeholders to support the project.
The National Director cautioned against politicizing the project because everybody needs money to put food on the table.
Haja Bilgisu Kamara a representative of the Sierra Leone Petty Traders Union called for the involvement of all traders across the country through a proper verification exercise so that the actual petty traders can benefit from the project.
She called for empowerment of the traders through training in illiteracy and business management and also appealed for more women to be involved in the project implementation.
On behalf of local councils the Chairman of the Bo District Council Martin Bindi expressed delight over the actualization of the project by reactivating local businesses.
He also observed that some of the rules and regulations of benefiting from the micro –credit scheme is not conducive to many traders as many ended up defaulting in payment. He called on the consortium to take into consideration the economic status of the country.
He also appealed for soft loan condition to be put in place to enable many people to benefit so that the recover from the Ebola loss. He pledged councils support towards the successful implementation of the project.
Bintu Moseary Livelihood Adviser World Vision Sierra Leone properly explained about the project background and objectives project implementation strategy approaches, community mobilization, project stakeholders and their roles and responsibilities.
She also said that 29, 400 petty traders will be the targeted beneficiaries with a total budget of 5 million pounds for the project provided by the Department for International Development (DIFID)
She also noted that the each grant will be 27 Pounds an equivalent of Le 200,000 and a startup capital will be provided of 85pounds starling with 5% interest for the period of 12 months
Financial service providers like Airtel and Splash will be used to transfer the grant through Micro finance institutions to ensure transparency and accountability.