"Why do you receive this loan? Some of you can get collateral free loans of Rp2 million, Rp3 million, Rp4 million. This is because you are honest and trustworthy," President Joko Widodo, or popularly known as Jokowi, stated here on Friday.
Jokowi reviewed the implementation of the Mekaar Program in Magetan as part of his working visit to East Java.
The president, accompanied by First Lady Iriana Widodo, State Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno, and Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung, bought products sold by some beneficiaries of the Mekaar Program.
The program was launched by state-owned financing firm PT Permodalan Nasional Madani (PNM) and focused on empowerment of productive women from poor households to improve their micro businesses.
"This trust must be maintained, because once we lose it (the trust), it would be difficult to get loan. That is why we have to repay the loan on time, if necessary, we save the money every day," he remarked.
Such a disciplined behavior will help the beneficiaries to repay the loan on time, he noted.
The event was attended by some 500 beneficiaries of the program who operate various micro businesses, such as snacks, coffee, and farmers` hat.
"Hard work, without it forget fulfilling the dream of improving ourselves. We can`t; it would require hard work," he emphasized.
The president shared his experiences as a businessman, saying that he began his business with an initial loan of Rp10 million. He managed to repay the loan with hard work and gradually, the loan could be increased.
"I worked from dawn to midnight. Do you think that we can be better without hard work? Never, only with hard work can we upgrade ourselves. Is that true?" the president reiterated.
Jokowi expressed optimism that the program`s beneficiaries would gradually upgrade their businesses and finally be eligible for small business loan, or KUR, in the range of Rp25 million to Rp500 million.
Currently, more than four million productive women received loans, ranging from Rp2 million to Rp4.5 million, and non-performing loan of 0.1 percent under the Mekaar Program.
In East Java alone, the number of beneficiaries of the program has reached 910,566 people as of Jan 31.
Reporting by Desca Lidya Natalia, Sri Haryati