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April 29, 2024: Dang Ghorahi: Nepal Microfinance Bankers Association (NMBA), Lumbini province sector held a one day peaceful rally and financial literacy program for its rural members in Ghorahi Sub Metraopolis at Hotel Malla Inn on April 28, 2024 amidst a mass gathering.

The program was chaired by NMBA Lumbini province president, CEO of Aatmanirbhar LBS promoted by Rural Women Development Center-RWDC Shogat Bir Chaudhary. The NMBA central president, Ram Bahadur Yadav was the chief guest on the occasion.

More than 1000 participants specially women members represented by various staff and members of a dozen of microfinance companies (operating microfinance services within Lumbini area) including media persons participated in the huge program which begun with street rally from traffic road and went around the Ghorahi town to draw the attention of the public and government authorities towards recent attack from unknown miscreants on few microfinance offices at Kamirechaur and demanded stern action against them. The street rally voiced for peace and security and demanded the government to make friendly environment for the microfinance companies to carry out their regular duties and responsibilities towards the poorer section of society to promote the rural economy.

The peaceful rally was also taken to the street by all microfinance companies collectively to show their solidarity towards any untoward incident likely to happen to the staff or employees of microfinance services across the country. In the recent years there had been sporadic incidents wherein few field employees of these financial institutions were smeared with black colour on their faces while delivering their financial services in the field.

The street rally converged into a mass meeting at Mala Inn hotel where the chief executive officers of various microfinance companies spoke such as Sharada Pokhrel, Prem Bahadur Pathak, Durga Poudel about the current burning issues in delivering microfinance services. They collectively condemned the activities where some miscreants tried to mistreat some of the field staff of the microfinance companies. They also called upon the government to step up stern actions against those culprits who are misguiding the clients of these microfinance companies and are engaged viciously in the politically motivated plot to collapse the rural economy these days which in turn directly or indirectly is going to harm the national economy in fact.

The program also witnessed few successful entrepreneurs like Geeta Chaudhary representing their own microfinance companies to narrate their own stories of success in the program.

Speaking during the program the chief guest Ram Bahadur Yadav said that a total of 55 microfinance companies across the country are operating their microfinance services and created jobs for over 22000 men and women. He also said that more than 6 million rural folks (women) are members of these 55 microfinance companies to benefit from group collaterals loans to initiate business. Yadav further said that more than 2.7 million members have taken loans from these 55 microfinance companies to start up the livelihood oriented business in their locality. “We have to pay 30% tax from our yearly income which is financial rule governed by the Nepal Rasta Bank while we give 80% of loan on group collateral basis.

Similarly, CEO of Aatmanirbhar microfinance company with its central office located in Ghorahi-15 and chair of the program Shogat Bir Chaudhary hinted that since microfinance companies had reached the remote rural areas and provided their services to the rural women in the past when no bigger banks trusted them, the clients should not be swayed by any other external influences.

Soon after the program concluded, a press conference was also held in the Rolpa conference room of Mala Inn hotel on the same day wherein the chief guest Yadav spoke to the media persons on the issues being raised in the context of services being provided by microfinance companies to the rural clients. Responding to some of the questions raised by media persons Yadav said that the microfinance companies are ready to improve and step up for corrective measures to improve the situation of clients and are always ready to cope with the clients and their problems. He also hinted that the situation is worsened due to politicization of the minor issues regarding microfinance services. He also clarified that microfinance loans and interest can never be compared with the shark loan provided by local landlords in the villages and the injustice situation to the clients.