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K10bn: SMEs in crisis

…Resolve banks’ concerns over K10bn package, says ZACCI

By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
GOVERNMENT should immediately address concerns raised by commercial banks that have shunned the K10 billion stimulus package meant to offer financial relief to businesses amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) has said .
ZACCI president, Chabuka Kawesha said yesterday, businesses were in distress and needed help now and government should not delay in resolving the issues raised by the banks to ensure needy sectors access the stimulus package.
“The industry is stressed and cannot wait to access the available stimulus funds,” he said.
Dr Kawesha stressed the need for the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Zambia to quickly address the concerns from commercial banks, if at all there was rejection from these institutions.
He was reacting to information obtained by the Daily Nation indicating that commercial banks have rejected the K10bn stimulus package as it comes with many conditions which will lead to Government micro-managing the institutions.
“We would urge the Ministry of Finance and the central bank if at all there is resentments from commercial banks to address that in the shortest possible time because industry is stressed and cannot wait to access the available stimulus facility
“So our appeal is that the minister and the central bank can quickly address if at all it is true there is resentment because we have not received full evidence or confirmation that there is resentment from the commercial banks,” Dr Kawesha said.
Dr Kawesha also said ZACCI and its district chambers on Thursday this week had a meeting with the Bank of Zambia Governor, Denny Kalyalya, to seek clarity on how businesses could access the funds.
He explained that the private sector was happy with the clarification from the central bank on the modalities to be used
“So we are happy the central bank gave us a full brief on the modalities in relation to disbursement, they basically covered anything that any potential borrower would want to consider given the facility,” Dr Kawesha said.

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