Bulawayo is reported to have the lowest number of women applying for financial loans, a sign that they do not take advantage of government initiatives, an official from the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development has said.
Presenting at a stakeholder engagement meeting in the city Thursday, Dominic Muringi, said in comparison with other provinces, Bulawayo had the lowest number of female applicants.
The meeting was organised by the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ).
Muringi said since the start of 2019, only 100 women from Bulawayo had come forward to seek loans from the women affairs ministry unlike other places such as Masvingo were female applicants exceeded 5 000.
“Bulawayo has the lowest recipients of financial loans. We have five types of financial loans which include the Community Development Fund, the Women Development Fund, Women Micro Finance Bank amongst other loans which women can benefit from, but Bulawayo has recorded only a 100 whilst other areas such as Masvingo has over five thousand,” Muringi disclosed.
The official said the ministry was concerned as to why women in Bulawayo did not come forward for these assistance loans.
“I see many faces here but I wonder why you have not visited our offices to access these loans so that women can benefit and be empowered.”
Muringi added there is a need for women to be empowered with information and take advantage of the Women’s Supermarket that was to be launched soon in Bulawayo.
“I always say women should be empowered with information and money. When we are conduct start-up business empowerment programmes, the trainings are for free so that women take advantage of such opportunities.
“Women laugh when we advertise cheap bread but when the sales are made, real money comes in. If all goes well, the women affairs ministry will open a women’s supermarket in Bulawayo. It’s already there in Mutare and Buhera so we are looking forward to have one this side too,” she claimed.
Muringi highlighted that for the supermarket, women would be the ones producing goods such as bread at lower prices compared to big supermarkets that are over charging people.
“We have different projects that women can capitalise on. One of our projects is that of using and adding value to castor oil. ZW$100 000 is on the offer right now and this is real money women should take advantage of. But because of the fear of unknown women usually lag behind,” she lamented.
The official encouraged women to embark on programmes so that they can also develop themselves instead of watching afar due to fear.