Xinjiang rolls out credit policy for the poor

( Xinhua )

Updated: 2016-07-01

The Xinjiang regional people's government has started offering small loans to the poor and encouraging people to start their own businesses.

Xinjiang will offer a maximum of 50,000 yuan (about 7,540 U.S. dollars) for every impoverished household, free of mortgage or guarantee, said Wang Yanlou, deputy director of the regional Finance Department on Wednesday.

Applicants can obtain the loans a week after they apply, and they may reapply after three years, he said.

The regional government has ordered lower governments to establish a special fund to support the new credit policy, he said.

About 2.61 million people in Xinjiang -- less than 10 percent of the region's population -- live in poverty. A shortage of funds is a major obstacle, Wang said.

"Banks usually demand guarantees or mortgageable assets, thus barring a great number of people from getting the money they need," he said.

Most impoverished households have nothing to mortgage and cannot find anyone to vouch for them.

"We want to use the loans to encourage people to start their own businesses and find proper means for living," he said.

For Amatgang Sidiq, a 38-year-old sheep farmer in Akto county of Xinjiang, the loan can help him raise more livestock.

He suffered a great loss during a steep fall in sheep prices in 2014. He had spent almost his life's savings on a new house, which was left half-built after his sheep business collapsed.

"The bank refused me any loans because I have no house to mortgage. The new loan program is just what I need," he said.