“One of the major impediments that women face is lack of access to finance.”
This was highlighted by the Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Local Government, Housing and Community Development, Hon. Premila Kumar while speaking on “Women Leadership in Commerce” hosted by the Fiji Chamber of Commerce and Industry this morning at the Grand Pacific Hotel.
“The 2018 Asian Development Bank (ADB) research states that 36 percent of women have to borrow money from the Fiji National Provident Fund to start a business compared to 44 percent of the men who start off their business with their savings,” Minister Kumar said.
Minister Kumar added the report also stated women faced a lot of challenges when it came to obtaining business license, “and I am glad to note that with 2020 things have changed in how we used to issue our business licenses with only two requirements as opposed to eight previously”.
“We need to have political will because without it we cannot change and bring about equality, and with this current Government, a number of changes have come about where women can actually benefit from policy changes, process changes and just have the confidence that has been created for women to do as they see fit.”
Minister Kumar said the ADB report talks about the nature of business for women where they are being engaged in sectors such as food industry, clinic services, information and communications technology, and accounting among others.
“For the first time in Fiji we are recognizing home-based business which means that more women can now be involved in operating business from home while looking after their family,” she added.
FijiCare chairman, Mr Avi Raju said the lack of women in leadership roles in commerce is a global issue, however, according to statistics women have greater aptitude of running businesses.
“By not engaging or supporting women into leadership roles you are taking away 50 percent of the talent pool, which is very less,” he added.
“In a country like Fiji we should have a lot more encouragement and support for women in the business world because we need to leverage on every bit of talent we have”.