March 6, Kathmandu – NMB Microfinance Bittiya Sanstha Ltd (NMB MF) and UKaid Sakchyam Access to Finance Programme (Sakchyam) have launched a partnership to enable financial access to small rural tourism operators. Through this partnership, NMB MF aims to increase its outreach to serve at least 7,529 individuals, all women and 30% DAGs and to create at least 3,564 sustainable Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) focused on tourism over the project’s 2-year duration.
“To do this we will introduce Sakchyam Udyamsil Karja, an attractive new loan product to support small scale tourism entrepreneurs; which will be accompanied with a dedicated skill development training on tourism and hospitality and tailored financial literacy program,” informed Mr. Tirtha Ratna Konajo, CEO, NMB MF during the partnership signing ceremony today. “In addition, this partnership will also introduce the use of POS machines by rural tourism entrepreneurs to extend branchless banking services to travellers and residents along tourist routes,” he said.
Similarly, speaking during the program, Mr. Baljit Vohra, Team Leader, UKaid Sakchyam said, “Sakchyam will support NMB MF to provide access to financial services in five remote districts – Manang, Mustang, Rukum, Myagdi and Illam. To meet this objective, we are excited about NMB MF’s plan to establish two new branches and five sub branches in the proposed districts; and along the tourism trail. This innovative partnership will not only increase the tourism potential of the proposed districts, but will ultimately increase the income levels of women and DAGs working in the rural tourism sector.”
The Chief Guest at the program, Mr. Raman Nepal, Director of Nepal Rastra Bank said, “Given the diverse socio-economic and geographical context of Nepal, the need to adopt innovative solutions backed by technology is necessary to enable convenient access to financial products and services for rural poor communities. Nepal Rastra Bank has always supported new initiatives to improve the financial sector and I am confident that this new Sakchyam-NMB initiative will play an important role in serving the needs of rural communities, especially those relying on tourism for their livelihood, in the target districts.”
Sakchyam is a UKaid funded Access to Finance programme implemented for DFID Nepal by Louis Berger. It is being implemented in Nepal in partnership with local and international institutions.