A team from Taiwan’s International Cooperation and Development Fund visited the Marshall Islands earlier this month to advance the launch of a new revolving loan fund to support household energy efficiency and home solar systems.
The team also received Bank of Marshall Islands’ request to borrow $900,000 to add to its revolving loan fund for micro loans in order to expand the program beyond the $800,000 provided by ICDF 12 years ago.
Hsun-Hui Tseng, Division Chief for Lending at ICDF, and Yung-Hsin Lin, Program Officer for Lending at ICDF, were joined by renewable energy consultant Robert Shih.
Tseng said she expected ICDF’s review of the loan request from Bank of Marshall Islands would take six months to a year to complete. “We’re in the early stage of the review process now,” she added.
Tseng commented positively on the BOMI-managed micro loan program, noting that since it began managing micro loans using the $800,000 provided by ICDF in 2006, it has issued over $4 million in loans to over 1,000 customers.
Bank of Marshall Islands provided over $4.3 million in small-scale loans to 1,006 people in 11 years since Taiwan’s International Cooperation and Development Fund provided $800,000 to establish a revolving micro loan program.
Using the ICDF funding, BOMI has been able to provide micro loans amounting to five times the original amount provided.
On the home energy efficiency/renewable energy home unit program, ICDF has already approved a $4 million fund that is to be managed by Marshall Islands Development Bank through the Ministry of Finance. But a tangle of paper work and documentation is delaying the rollout of this new program for people living in the urban center.
The aim of this revolving loan program is to provide individual homes with “energy audits” that review consumption of power and ways for people to improve their home energy efficiency. The second stage is loans for home solar systems specifically designed for various house sizes.
Launch of the new loan program has been stymied by a variety of legal requirements, including issues with establishing a bank account, name changes of various ministries that are part of the program, a Cabinet minute (decision) that calls for a $5 million loan program instead of the $4 million being provided and which needs to be corrected as part of meeting legal requirements. The ICDF team said it is hopeful the paperwork issues can be resolved soon so the program can proceed.
Read more about this in the April 27, 2018 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.