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CEFI hosts MSME Day

The Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion (CEFI) hosted a panel discussion on Small Business Debt Management for Women MSMEs (Micro Small and Medium Size Enterprises) on June 27.

The activity coincided with the World MSME Day, which falls every year on June 27 and recognizes MSMEs worldwide who make a vital contribution to economic growth and development of their country.

Theme for MSME Day 2024 is, “Leveraging Power and Resilience of MSMEs to Accelerate Sustainable Development and Eradicate Poverty in Times of Multiple Crises,” underscores the critical role that MSMEs play in achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs) and fostering economic resilience.

The MSMEs represent a seedbed of entrepreneurial skills and innovation, contribute to job creation, and are considered the backbone of the global economy.

In Papua New Guinea, the number of MSMEs sprouting across the length and breadth of the country is inspiring as the ripple effects are reflected in the creation of numerous jobs directly and indirectly especially in the informal sector.

From food selling to tailoring the goal is the same, to earn money to support family households, but the biggest challenge local MSMEs face is ‘debt management’. Micro finance institutions have made access to finance possible for MSMEs across the country to enable small business people to utilize debts in order to improve and expand their business operations. Debt repayment, however remains challenging for women run MSMEs.

That was the key focus for CEFI in hosting the panel discussion and inviting over 20 twenty MSMEs in Port Moresby who were currently replaying small business loans to attend and listen and join in the discussions on ‘debt management’ with four panel experts.

The panelist included;

Vashiti Imar – Owner / Cake Decorator – Vashiti’s Cakes and Cupcakes,

Jessalin Airi – Senior Recoveries Officer – MiBank,

Elizabeth Jiko Alois – Managing Director – Hyang Limited and

Nellie Kavanamur Varmari – Founder – Central Dakis Maima/Mamina Trading

Guests speakers including CEFI’s Executive Director Mr. Saliya Ranasinghe and Mrs. Sabina Deklin Manager – Banking Supervision Department, Financial Systems Stability Group – Bank of PNG, had one key message for the women MSME in attendance, ‘be disciplined and committed’ in repaying their loans.

“Debt management is a key constraint that many MSMEs face and it is understandable that as a business woman you will face a lot of social pressures,” Mr. Ranasinghe told the women.

“We (CEFI) will be introducing debt counselling soon and we would like to invite you to come see us and discuss your (debt) problems and on your behalf also be talking with the banks, /; added Mr. Ranasinghe.

In commenting on the important role MSMEs play in developing the country’s economy in creating employment and contributing to the national’s GDP, Mrs.Sabina Deklin was encouraged to see many involved in this space adding this is a positive indicator of  elevating poverty, one of the targets set out under the sustainable development goals.

Mrs. Deklin highlighted the challenges to accessing finance as well as paying taxes and superannuation as other challenge established MSME businesses face, but the key she emphasized is to overcoming the challenges is knowing how to be discipline and committed in managing your debt.

Other guest’s speakers who shared testimonies of MSMEs who properly managed their debt to become successful in operating their respective business include, Mr. Danny Koka, Manager-NFIS Coordination and Stakeholder Engagements, Mr. Mr. Jamie Lopa, Manager – SME Development Division – Small and Medium Enterprises Corporation and Dr. Elizabeth Kopel, Senior Research Fellow – Informal Economy Research Program, PNG National Research Institution.

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