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Easy access to relief funds vital – ZACCI

By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
MODALITIES to enhance cheaper funds under the current and future stimulus packages should be worked on immediately to support key economic sectors.

This is according to the Zambia Chamber if Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) president, Chabuka Kawesha.
He said modalities should be developed because of continued negative sentiments in the business environment characterised by poor liquidity.
Dr Kawesha observed the need for Government in collaboration with key economic players to work on modalities of reducing the cost of accessing funds under the current and future stimulus package.
He lamented that negative sentiments had continued because of poor liquidity in the economy affecting demand for goods and services, depreciation of the Kwacha and load shedding, among others.
Dr Kawesha said this during a press briefing in Lusaka.
“This will support industry across all levels large, medium and small find some areas of comfort whilst effectively contributing to the tax base amidst and post Covid-19,” Dr Kawesha said.
Government has since the onset of the Covid-19 put in place relief packages such as the K10billion Medium Term Refinancing Facility and the K8 billion Covid-19 Bond.
Dr Kawesha said the Business Confidence Index (BCI) survey for both first and second quarters of this year revealed that businesses expected the overall performance of the economy to deteriorate. The BCI is the ZACCI proprietary tool that measures the level of confidence of business executives in the business environment and predicts short term business trends.
The survey, Dr Kawesha said, revealed that COVID-19 outbreak had led to reduced demand for goods and services, delayed delivery of goods and services due closures of borders as well as closures of some businesses due to reduced cash flows.
“Companies employed survival mechanisms such as laying off some workers, salary cuts, putting some workers on hold, diversifying business operations, proactive marketing and borrowing to sustain business operations.
“Other factors affecting businesses included depreciation of the Kwacha against major convertibles, high taxation, loading shedding, high fuel costs and high electricity tariffs,” he said.

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