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Typhoon-hit businesses to receive loans

VisionFund Cambodia to target Siem Reap, Kampong Thom

VISIONFUND Cambodia, the financial arm of California-based World Vision International, will provide emergency loans for small businesses affected by Typhoon Ketsana, the organisation said in an announcement Saturday.

Focusing on Kampong Thom and Siem Reap provinces – the areas worst affected by Ketsana at the end of last month – VisionFund will offer small loans of up to US$250 each, with plans to disburse about $30,000 in a bid to get typhoon-hit businesses up and running again, the statement said.

Top Sok Samphea, the organisation’s chief operating officer, said Sunday it would offer loans at about 2.6 percent interest per month, which would include life insurance for the borrower on repayment. VisionFund is to offer the loans on terms of three to six months.

VisionFund Cambodia Executive Director Om Seng Bora said in Friday’s statement that 500 families would benefit from the loan scheme.

VisionFund would not require collateral on the loans and will help owners of affected small businesses with business plans and money management “to ensure that our loan will not add financial stress to them”, he said.

“Now our team in Kampong Thom is in the process of assessment,” Top Sok Samphea said, adding that the first loans would be disbursed this month. “It’s cheaper than a normal loan.”

Microfinance institutions (MFIs) have in the past few months dropped borrowing rates by about 0.5 percent per month to below 3 percent, the Cambodian Microfinance Association announced at the beginning of September.

Kampong Thom’s Provincial Governor Chhun Chhhorn said Sunday that 19,000 hectares of paddy fields had been destroyed and a further 5,000 hectares had been affected by the storm in Prasat Sambor, Sandan and Kampong Svay districts. He added that this figure was expected to rise after more districts had been evaluated.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY KHOUTH SOPHAK CHAKRYA

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