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Channel K10bn facility to SMEs – EAZ

By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
COMMERCIAL bank should ensure that funds from the K10 billion financing facility are channelled towards sectors that add value to the economy such as Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs).
Government has provided the relief facility through the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) for commercial banks to administer to clients, who are in good standing.
The money should go to real sectors of the economy to encourage production and in the end revive the economy, said Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ) president, Lubinda Haabazoka.
Dr Haabazoka observed that there were limited restrictions in the economy as some sectors were operating.
He said in an interview in Lusaka that it was therefore important for businesses to take advantage of the facility.
“We expect the measures announced by the Government like the K10 billion fund that has been made available through the commercial banks to help cushion the impact of the SMEs and businesses,” Dr Haabazoka said.
Dr Haabazoka expressed confidence that the facility would help revive businesses for SMEs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
He observed that Government was providing a grace period of a year to commercial banks and it was prudent for them to also do the same to the SMEs and businesses that would access the funds.
Dr Haabazoka said it was important for the SMEs and businesses to tap into this facility during difficult times where trade and movement were restricted.
He emphasised that this was the worst crisis Zambia had ever experienced post-independence because this nature of crisis were certain industries had been shut down due to COVID-19.
Dr Haabazoka was concerned that businesses were unable to trade and their operations have been shut down due to the pandemic thereby affecting Government revenue collection
“Let us also follow the measures that have been put in place by the Ministry responsible for health while we conduct our business and we should take all the necessary precautions so that we don’t escalate the problem.
“At the moment we cannot afford not to do business because we need to keep the wheels of our economy running,” he said.

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