CHAMBO NG’UNI, Kabwe
THE Presidential Empowerment Initiative Fund (PEIF) has disbursed K10.4 million in interest-free soft loans to over 7,000 marketeers and other people countrywide.
And PEIF national patron Chanda Kabwe says the funds under the empowerment initiative are not from Government but are 10 percent of President Lungu’s salary which the head of State has donated to the vulnerable.
Mr Kabwe said it is unfortunate that some people who once served as ministers are now criticising President Lungu for coming up with the empowerment initiative.
Speaking during a Patriotic Front (PF) interactive forum here yesterday, Mr Kabwe said many people such as market traders, street vendors, drivers and people with special needs require financial assistance for them to venture into viable businesses.
“From 2015 to date, we have empowered over 7,000 marketeers. We have spent K10.4 million in cash form and in assets because we have identified the needs of marketeers,” he said.
He said President Lungu is concerned that despite being key players in economic growth of the country, people in the informal sector are unable to borrow funds from commercial banks.
Mr Kabwe, who is Central Province permanent secretary, said President Lungu does not want any citizen to be left behind in the quest for improved standards of living, irrespective of their status in society.
He said this is why President Lungu decided to donate 10 percent of his monthly salary to the PEIF to empower citizens.
Mr Kabwe said any citizen can access funding from PEIP regardless of the region they come from or the political party they support.
Meanwhile, Mr Kabwe says it is unfortunate that some individuals who once served as ministers are now criticising President Lungu over the PEIF and they claim that it is for enticing support to the PF.
He said PEIF is a non-political initiative created out of the goodwill of President Lungu to empower Zambians.
Mr Kabwe also said PEIF has never used Government funds or resources for its activities, but it is purely a revolving fund.
“I want to assure Zambians that we are not using any government resources. I will be the first one to be happy if anyone points a finger at me that we are using government resources,” he said.
Mr Kabwe urged former PF members and opposition political parties not to criticise PEIF but urged them to emulate President Lungu, who has sacrificed part of his salary to empower the people.
At the same event, nine traders from Kabwe town centre market received K400 each as soft loans from PEIP.