Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) form an important component of the economy, and contribute over 18 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), says Assistant Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Sashi Kiran.
While launching of the Insurance Component with the Fiji Development Bank Loan for Women Entrepreneurs in Suva today, Kiran also stated that the sector employs 60 per cent of the country’s labor force.
Kiran highlighted that the growth of SMEs is essential for job creation, income generation, poverty alleviation, rural development and the empowerment of youth and women, more so now when the economy is reeling from the impact of the pandemic.
She referred to a Climate Vulnerability Assessment which reported that between 2000 to 2016 from a total of 41 climate-related disasters Fiji incurred a cost of $3.2 billion, furthermore typical cyclones and floods which pushed Fijians into poverty every year.
“Given the increase in the severity of the weather conditions and the effects of climate change, this cover will provide much-needed relief to the MSMEs to recover from damages caused by cyclones.”
“Your new Government will continue to work towards implementing inclusive and innovative policies and programs for the development of women entrepreneurship in Fiji. Furthermore, the Government will support resilient programs and policies countering climate change impacts.”
“We will analyse individual settings and circumstances before tackling climate change impacts in a development context. I will work closely and support all institutions that have work centered around Women’s Economic Empowerment and improve women’s access to credit facilities.”