SME Development Finance Corporation (SDFC), the government institution incepted to provide financial products and ancillary services to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), has introduced special loans for creative artists and taxi drivers.
‘Fannuveringe Nafaa’ loan announced on Wednesday night will only be applicable to creative artists registered with the Arts Ministry, who have worked in the field for at least one year. They include;
Loans under the scheme fall between MVR 50,000 to MVR 250,000 and will be issued based on the income of the respective artists.
Taxi loans, on the other hand, will be issued in two categories; licensed taxi drivers who have been taxiing for at least a year and do not own a car to buy a car and licensed taxi drivers who have been taxiing with their own car for at least 10 years to buy a new car.
Loans up to MVR 300,000 will be issued under the scheme. The cars purchased with the loan money must be kept as collateral.
Neither of the loans require equity. With an interest ranging between six percent and eight percent, the loans can be paid back within a period of five years. Recipients will receive a six-month grace period before they have to begin repayment.
Speaking at a press conference held on Wednesday night to announce the loans – SME Bank’s CEO Nazim Habeeb said the ‘Fannuveringe Nafaa’ loan was a product of efforts spanning two years.
“We have held a great number of meetings with individuals in the creative arts industry in various locations. These meetings helped us understand the difficulties they face,” he added.
Habeeb noted that a large number of artists had been provided assistance through existing loans at the bank.
On the other hand, he said efforts to formulate the taxi drivers’ loan commenced three years ago.
“We have also collaborated with the Transport Ministry to provide relief to difficulties faced by taxi drivers,” he added.
Nazim said SDFC has issued approximately 1,400 loans valued at MVR 1.7 billion. He stressed that these loans have aided in the development of the economy of many islands.