The Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), Hajia Abibata Shanni Mahama Zakariah has said that given the strategic role of women in the socio-economic development of Ghana, MASLOC would ensure that the President’s vision of job and wealth creation was fulfilled with emphasis on women.
Women constitute over 51% of Ghana’s population but they are often marginalised and discriminated against in economic empowerment and decision making at some levels.
Abibata Shanni Mahama Zakariah was speaking on the theme: “The Transformational CEOs” on a panel discussion during the just ended 5th edition of the South America-Africa-Middle East-Asia Women Summit (SAMEAWS) organised by the Centre for Economic and Leadership Development (CELD) at the Shangri-La Hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirate (UAE).
According to her, the strategic plans of MASLOC for 2018 among other things were to deepen their core mandate of job and wealth creation by reaching as many people as possible especially women, using the expanded presence network of the 216 district offices they established in 2017.
Before assumption of office of the new management early 2017, MASLOC was operating in only 14 districts without a physical presence (offices), but now has 216 well-furnished district offices across Ghana. This makes MASLOC more accessible, visible and more than ready to support people who need its support to grow economically.
The Winner of the Global Female Leadership Impact Award, 2017, indicated that, under the leadership of the current CEO, Stephen Amoah, MASLOC had recovered over 16 million Ghana cedis from loan defaulters. Some of them she noted had the mentality that MASLOC money was a free gift from Government and were not prepared to pay back. She said efforts were still being made by the Management to recover the remaining debts from defaulters to enable MASLOC offer support to people who were in need especially women.
Abibata Shanni Mahama Zakariah
Abibata Shanni Mahama Zakariah said that some of the women need as little as 500 Ghana cedis to sustain or start up their own businesses and the current Management of MASLOC was prepared to support them with loans, since women more often than not are more reliable in repayment of loans.
She unveiled that MASLOC was forming strategic alliances with other Government agencies like the Ministry for Gender, Children and Social Protection to offer support to the Caterers under the Ghana School Feeding Programme.
“Financial pressures of the family are mostly borne by women and this often makes them extremely busy on their subsistent activities of livelihood. For this reason, they are often unable to make the time to visit and take advantage of lending opportunities at their disposal”.
Abibata Shanni Mahama Zakariah observed that the lack of knowledge of the benefits of cooperative business units was one factor hindering lending to women in emerging economies.
According to her, women borrow as individuals and are usually faced with several challenges; and thus charged them to form cooperatives to enable them to share risks among cooperative members.
She said that the formation of cooperatives will help them to attract more loans as against stand-alone single-borrower schemes.
Abibata Shanni Mahama Zakariah charged leaders of Ghana, both male and female to serve as sponsors for young women to enable them to reach their dreams in life