Iraq Offers Loans to Women Who Are Sole Providers
|July 26, 2013||Filled under Iraq Daily News|
Women who are the sole providers for their families are set to benefit from a new Iraqi Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs loan programme.
Under the new initiative, the ministry has started to grant easy-terms loans to this group as part of the national strategy to lower poverty levels and improve their standard of living, said Mukhlis Roland Nouri, director of the ministry’s employment and loans directorate.
The new loans will help qualified women set up small businesses that could provide them with a steady source of income, Nouri said. This would enable them to become self-reliant, as well as to contribute to their communities.
The loans range between 5 and a 10 million Iraqi dinars ($4,300 to $8,600), based on the nature of the proposed project and its economic feasibility, he said.
“The amounts do not include any interest or overhead costs, and the payback period would be stretched to eight years,” Nouri said. “Repayment will start one year from the date of receiving the loan, in order to allow the beneficiary to develop her project without any financial constraints.”
“Priority is given to women in the rural and countryside areas where the level of poverty is higher and work opportunities are lower compared with city centres,” he said.
Women applying for loans need not be registered as unemployed in the ministry’s database, Nouri said, but should be able to prove they meet the loan’s requirements and that they have never been allocated a salary by either the Women’s Welfare Directorate or the Social Security Network.
Falah al-Alousy, director of Salam Al-Rafidain — an organisation concerned with the welfare of women and children — praised the inclusion of widows and divorcees within the categories qualified for the easy terms loans.
“The salaries allocated by the Social Security Network, according to the Ministry of Labour, cover only about 20% of the women eligible for support,” he said.
“Therefore, it is incumbent on us to increase the loans granted to this category and expand the base of women benefiting from those loans to help them set up their projects and get out of poverty,” he added.
Al-Alousy appealed to the government to grant these women priority in receiving government jobs and work opportunities and to help meet their needs for housing, healthcare, education and social welfare.
Intisar al-Jubury, a member of parliament’s women affairs committee, described the programme as “a positive step by the government to lift the standard of living for this group.”
“Inclusion of those women into the easy-terms loans programme is considered one of the most effective measures to fight the monster of poverty, especially in rural areas, and help women confront it by providing them with the chance to improve their families’ situations,” she said.
Al-Jubury said it will be important to conduct a general census as soon as possible “to accurately identify the number of women who qualify for the state’s care, which would enable us to direct services for them in a more effective way.”
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