KELVIN MBEWE, Lusaka
MINISTER of Finance Felix Mutati says failure by some Zambians to pay back loans is hindering the country’s progress.
Mr Mutati said the list of people who have not paid back loans to the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) and Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) and Youth Development Fund (YDF) is shocking.
And Mr Mutati said Government is working on further reducing the interest rates in banks if there is proof of an improved culture of paying back money that is borrowed.
He said this at a Zambian National Small and Medium Entrepreneurship Fund (ZNSMEF) fundraising dinner in a speech read for him by Ericho Shikokola, a director at the ministry.
“We are aware of the Zambian mentality and culture that once money is lent to them in form of loans or revolving funds, they take it that it’s free manna from heaven and do not pay back.
“This hinders and affects progress and prosperity of well-intended projects and this slows the country’s progress,” he said.
Mr Mutati also said Government reduced the interest rates through the Bank of Zambia to ensure that Zambians are empowered.
“Yes, the financial institutions in Zambia in the past had conditions that were unfavourable such as high interest rates and collateral security but I am pleased to inform you that my government through the Bank of Zambia has managed to reduce the interest rates,” he said.
He said Government is moving towards the introduction of friendly lending terms from immovable assets such as houses to movable assets.
And ZNSMEF director general Martin Kiwala said entrepreneurship is key to developing the country.
Mr Kiwala said the organisation is impressed with Government’s willingness to partner with the private sector in an effort to foster development in the country.