MAJURO – A one-million dollar loan to stimulate the participation of Marshall women in business, approved more than two years ago, could finally see the light of day in the coming months.
The details of the law for launching a Taiwan-funded program have proven challenging on both sides – leaving some women eager to see it launched.
The Taiwanese Embassy in Majuro said this week that everything was nearing completion and the embassy hoped the funds would be ready to launch before the end of June. The fact that two governments, three ministries, one NGO and one bank are involved can help explain delays in delivering the program.
“The interim council has been formed and over the months they have developed legal mechanisms and documents in close collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Taiwanese Embassy, the Ministry of Culture and Home Affairs, the Marshall Islands Bank and the Attorney General’s Office,” said the Secretary of State. Anjanette Kattil. “Once these legal mechanisms and documents are cleared from all sides, the project can start immediately.”
In March 2019, the Kora im an Kil Fund was established through the signing of an agreement between the Taiwanese government and the Marshall Islands. It is a joint initiative of President Hilda Heine of the Marshall Islands and President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen. The Kora im an Kil Fund was established as a non-governmental organization chartered through the Marshall Islands Attorney General’s office at the end of 2019. Taiwan agreed to provide an additional $ 250.00 for the establishment of the organization in early 2020. Thereafter, legal documents, translations, establishment board, and related activities are running slowly.
The good news is, two years later, the Taiwanese Embassy says now all revised and translated documents will be sent to Taipei for processing in the next few days. Embassy officials said they wanted to see the funds flow as quickly as possible.
A provisional council has been formed to organize the process for women to apply for small loans. The Bank of Marshall Islands, which has run a micro-loan program funded by Taiwan, will manage the loan program for the Kora im an Kil Fund.
“We are working with the Interim Council, and all partners to get it up and running,” said Kattil. “One of the issues impacting this delay is negotiations with BOMI on interest rates for borrowers as well as an agreement on a rate of return to the IMF to ensure its sustainability and most importantly, turn around. This is a revolving fund to help our women in the Marshall Islands and the ministry continues to work with partners to make sure we get it right the first time. “
The Taiwanese Embassy said after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taipei reviewed and approved the final documents to be submitted in the next few days, there would be a signing ceremony in Majuro to officially launch the program.