The western regional office of the Medium and Small Loans Center (MASLOC), was established by the previous government to give financial assistance to small and medium enterprises, is on the verge of collapse, if efforts are not made to turn things around.
The problem, according to sources, was being linked to the failure of the beneficiaries to repay loans granted them.
This reporter gathered that GH¢43 million, which was made available to the MASLOC office in the region in 2008, has still not been paid back by the beneficiaries, who apparently think it is free money for government functionaries.
As a result of this perception, as much as GH¢2.58 million has been locked up in the Ellembelle District alone, as the Scheme is unable to trace the location of the beneficiaries to compel them to settle their debts.
Some of the beneficiaries reportedly used names of others to secure loans without their knowledge and consent.
Again, instead of being paid though the local bank, the beneficiaries were asked to go to Axim, which is a different district to collect the money.
The District Chief Executive (DCE) for Ellembelle, Mr. Daniel K. Eshun, who confirmed the indebtedness, further told The Chronicle that the District Assembly bad been tasked to trace and locate the whereabouts of the debtors.
The Board Chairman of MASLOC, Col. Kaku Korsah (rtd), in a telephone interview with The Chronicle, confirmed the figure owed by the beneficiaries in the Ellembelle District, and added "the figure is more than that, and not only in Ellembelle District.”
According to him, other beneficiaries in the 16 districts in the region were also indebted to MASLOC.
The Board Chairman told this reporter that due to the indebtedness of the beneficiaries to the scheme, the MASLOC had designed a strategy to pursue the beneficiaries to settle their debts through the district assemblies in the region.
Sounding optimistic that the debt would be settled by the beneficiaries, Col. Kaku Korsah (rtd) added that the office would resort to legal action as a last resort, if the beneficiaries were not reasoning to settle their debts.
As a step to show that the office was leaving no stone unturned in collecting the debts, the Board Chairman revealed that the office had taken steps to seize VW Paraki vehicles sold to some of the beneficiaries on a high purchase basis, to defray the debt.
According to Col. Kaku Korsah (rtd), they were supposed to pay GH¢341 a month towards the repayment, which they had failed to do.