Finance Minister Dr. BWALYA NG’ANDU says the Zambian private sector should take advantage of the USD 750 million financing facility offered by the African Development Bank to achieve stability, sustain their growth, and become competitive in the domestic and international market place. Zambia has a sustainable lending limit of USD 750 million at the African Development Bank for both sovereign and non-sovereign borrowers for 2019.
“This is a honeycomb of empowerment for Zambia’s small and medium scale enterprises,” the Minister delightfully said after African Development Bank Country Manager MARY MONYAU disclosed the facility during a consultative dialogue held at the Ministry of Finance Headquarters in Lusaka, at which event she also delivered a congratulatory message to Dr. NG’ANDU from African Development Bank President Dr. AKINWUMI ADESINA.
“I bring you warm greetings and wishes of glad tidings for the Zambian economy from the President of the African Development Bank, the management, and the staff at our headquarters in Abidjan, Ivory Coast,” she said.
Ms. MONYAU reaffirmed that a further USD 50 million lending facility is available through the Development Bank of Zambia. She added that many international development financial institutions were keenly following the proceedings between the Bank and the Government because they consider the Development Bank of Zambia as a critical factor in demonstrating the effectiveness of development finance and boosting private sector growth and competitiveness. To ascertain that the facility at the Development Bank of Zambia is unlocked, Dr. NG’ANDU assured the African Development Bank that the government would soon finalise its internal processes so that small and medium scale enterprises soon begin to get the money.
On regional integration, the African Development Bank Country Manager said a facility of USD 59 million is available for the re-development of Mpulungu Harbour, a Great Lakes Region Port in Zambia’s Northern Province. Ms. MONYAU also confirmed that a grant of USD 30 million from the Netherlands is also at arm’s length for the project to which news the Minister responded that “we will do everything possible to ensure a quick start of re-development works at Mpulungu Harbour.”
During a bilateral meeting with his Rwandese counterpart Dr. UZZIEL NDAGIJIMANA held in Lusaka, yesterday, Dr. NG’ANDU affirmed that through the participation of the private sector and the support of development partners, Zambia was keen to promote trade in the African Great Lakes Region by redeveloping Mpulungu Harbour and creating a fast route for bulk exports in produce such as cement, steel, sugar and other agriculture products.
Consistent with Zambia’s new dispensation of focusing more on policy implementation and achieving results, Dr. NG’ANDU took the opportunity to urge the African Development Bank to continue their close collaboration with relevant public and private sector organisations in order to accelerate the performance the private sector as envisaged in the 2017-2021 country strategy paper.
“You need to help us to strengthen business acceleration capacity for small and medium enterprises so that our people in the private sector can access the USD 750 million sustainable lending facility,” said the Minister, adding that, “such an approach will have a great impact in augmenting the government’s efforts aimed at harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit among Zambians, including women and the youth.”
The Minister also took the opportunity to request the support of the African Development Bank and other development partners in assisting Zambia in returning to fiscal health and achieving sustained fiscal consolidation.