In officially declaring the meeting opens the project Coordinator Rural Finance project, Mr. Lamin Fatajo commended the community of Madina Sancha for their hard work, dedication, and commitment. According to Mr. Fatajo rural finance entails provision of financial services to low income earners (i.e. the active poor and the poorest of the poor). Micro finance is one of the common words in the twenty first century and it is now commonly referred to as “the provision of financial and non financial services to low-income clients.”
The Rural Finance boss urged the Management Committee to consider issues pertaining to high interest rates. He intimated that this issue can be tackled from two angles. One, is to disaggregate their own, internally generated funds, for which the cost of funds is usually lower, alternatively policy makers could be persuaded to create a re-discounting window, with the Central Bank of the Gambia. In this way the rural financial institutions can access funds at a reduced interest rate, that can particularly needed for agricultural investment by poor rural armers.
Aja Sohna Ceesay, said the VISACA started operations in the year 2002 with a minute sum of Twenty five (D25, 000.00).She proudly explained that Madina Sancha VISACA is over a million dalasi strong, when presenting the progress report at an Annual General Meeting held at Madina Sancha, Kiang East, Lower River Region.
Madina Sancha is an indigenous farming community of about ninety compounds and 5 kilometers on the southern outskirt of Kiang Kaiaf. The community is a prolific producer of coarse grains and groundnuts. During the golden days of the Gambia Cooperative Union Madina Sancha used to produce large quantities of groundnuts compared to any village in the district. This is indeed evident as you enter the settlement with its improved living conditions .
For his part the Director, NAVISACA Technical Service provider, Mr. Seedy Bensouda junior hailed the performance of Madina Sancha and encouraged them to keep up the momentum. Mr. Bensouda Junior informed his audience that VISACA is a form of Micro- finance where saving mobilization and credit for depositors is facilitated. There is a need for thorough appraisal of loans and fulfillment of ethics of best practices of micro-finance such as presentation of collateral. For any successful VISACA, there must me a stringent loan appraisal and recovery measures in place.
Karanta Ceesay of SDF added his voice to other speakers by lamenting that Madina Sancha VISACA is the most trustworthy and reliable as far as SDF is concern in the year 2011. SDF provided refinancing for Madina Sancha payable in 8 months. This was paid with interest before the deadline.
Babu Ceesay, Cashier, who made the financial statement for year ending 2011 indicated that Madina Sancha VISACA made a handsome profit of D147,459.00 in the year.
M r. Ismaila Jarju representing the chief of Kiang East, Saikou Fatty, commended the management for a job well done. Madina Sancha is an undisputed model VISACA in The Gambia. The AGM made the following important changes to the constitution:-
• To reduce the interest on loans from 30% to a reasonable amount and interest on deposits to be lowered from 12% to a sustainable amount.
• Appealed for a special discount rate for the VISACA from the Central Bank, with refinancing from SDF and RFP and or VAPEX.
• Charges on current accounts to be reduced to D2.00 per annum instead of D5.00 as initially agreed in the constitution.
• An ultimatum of up to 31st May, 2012 be given to all those with loan arrears, failure to repay could result in confiscation of collateral, to offset the debt.
The AGM approved the Management Committee proposal, to introduce Western Union money in the current year.
The occasion was chaired by Sheriff T.J.Sanyang representing NAVISACA Technical Service Provider.
The members of the Management committee are given another mandate of one (1) year to steer the affairs .