Minister of Finance, Dr Bwalya N’gandu has encouraged the Zambian private sector to take advantage of the USD 750 million financing facility being offered by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and become competitive in the domestic and international market place.
In a statement made available to the Lusaka Star by Ministry of Finance Spokesperson Chileshe Kandeta, Dr N’gandu said the facility will be a “honeycomb of empowerment for Zambia’s small and medium scale enterprise”.
Speaking at a consultative dialogue held at the Ministry of Finance Headquarters, African Development Bank (AfDB) Manager Mary Monyau said that a USD 50 million lending facility is available through the Development Bank of Zambia.
Ms Monyau noted that many international development financial institutions were keenly following the proceedings between the bank and government as they consider the Development Bank of Zambia a critical factor in demonstrating the effectiveness of development finance and boosting private sector growth and competitiveness.
She further added that a facility of USD 59 million is available for the re-development of Mpulungu Harbour, a Great Lakes Region Port in Northern Province.
Ms Monyau also confirmed that a grant of USD 30 million from the Netherlands for the project was at arm’s length.
Meanwhile, Dr N’gandu assured the AfDB that government would soon finalise internal processes so that small and medium scale enterprises soon begin to collect the money.
“We will do everything possible to ensure a quick start of re-development works at Mpulungu Harbour”, Dr N’gandu said.
He urged the AfDB to continue their close collaboration with relevant public and private sector organizations.
The Finance Minister stated that there was need for the AfDB to help strengthen business acceleration capacity for small and medium enterprises so that people in the private sector can access the USD 750 million sustainable lending facility.
“Such an approach will have great impact in augmenting the government’s efforts aimed at harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit among Zambians, including women and youths,” said Dr. N’gandu.
He further requested support from the AfDB and other development partners in assisting Zambia in returning to fiscal health and achieving sustained consolidation.
And during a bilateral meeting held in Lusaka with Rwandese counterpart Dr. Uzziel Ndagijmana on Tuesday, 6th August, 2019, Dr. N’gandu affirmed that through participation of the private sector and the support of development partners, Zambia was keen to promote trade in the African Great Lakes Region through the development of Mpulungu Harbour and creating a fast route for bulk exports.