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Rural Arakan to receive $10 million under micro-finance scheme

File photo of farmers in Arakan State. (Photo: DVB)

The Department of Rural Development (DRD) has allocated 12 billion kyat (US$10.1 million) for use as loans to rural villages across western Burma’s Arakan State under the Mya Sein Yaung micro-finance scheme.

The DRD’s director for Arakan, Tun Wai, said 401 villages in the state will each receive 30 million kyat ($25,300) to be redistributed among residents to promote local businesses, job opportunities and livelihoods.

“The Mya Sein Yaung scheme was implemented two years ago, providing loans at low interest in rural areas, with an agenda to create better job opportunities as well as to promote local businesses, including agriculture, livestock breeding, fisheries, handicrafts and trading,” said the official.

“This year we are distributing the loan to 401 villages in 17 townships of Arakan State, providing around 30 million kyat to each village,” he said, adding that interest on the loans would not exceed 1.5 percent.

“The interest is one percent for one year; otherwise [for longer periods], it will be 1.5 percent. We didn’t specify the rate, but it was suggested by the rural public. Our department will not profit from the interest — last year’s interest was used to cover travel expenses for officials who went to the rural areas,” he added.

The Mya Sein Yaung project was initiated in the 2014-15 fiscal year. In the first year of the scheme, loans were distributed to 85 villages in Arakan State, and in the following year this was expanded to 297 villages. Tun Wai said 3,872 villages in Arakan State are currently designated to receive funding under the scheme.