Saturday, February 12, 2011

S/Province disburses K7.8bn empowerment loans

S/Province disburses K7.8bn empowerment loans
By Sandra Lombe in Livingstone
Sat 12 Feb. 2011, 04:00 CAT

SOUTHERN Province has disbursed empowerment loans amounting to K7.8 billion from 2009 to date. Southern Province permanent secretary Gladys Kristafor said K500 million from the Citizens Economic Empowerment fund was disbursed to 24 projects as at January this year.

Kristafor said K7.3 billion, through the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC), was paid out prior to the decentralization of which about K1.9 billion was pumped into a banana project in Siavonga.

She said the province was currently awaiting the release of more funds to serve the remaining 50 projects.

“The new revised CEEC application forms up to K50 million will be placed with the respective district empowerment committees chaired by the district commissioners whose work will be to receive applications, appraise them and recommend viable business projects to the provincial empowerment committee for funding and help in the recovery of loans,” Kristafor told journalists on Thursday.

She urged the beneficiaries of the loans to honour their repayment, which was at only 12 percent interest rates, to allow other people to access the funds. Kristafor admitted that there were many concerns over the CEEC funds.

“It’s existing, the country is big. We have a lot of applications in the province but we can’t satisfy all,” she said.

Kristafor said some projects had not been funded because they were not viable and the applicants did not meet the requirements.

“This money is not given like spoon feeding people. It’s a facility that credible, viable people should get. We are trying our best to ensure deserving projects are serviced,” she said.

Kristafor said people in areas like Gwembe did not apply for the funds.

And provincial empowerment coordinator Trust Hakulipa said more needed to be done on the recovery of the monies. Hakulipa said Southern Province was among the provinces with the highest number of applicants.

“The volume of work is increasing. We have endeavoured to give response where it’s due,” he said.

He said some people had not been good at repaying the loans. Hakulipa said the processing and approval of the projects was supposed to take less than two months but at times delays were experienced due to lack of funding.

“Some delays admittedly can be on our part but some are on applicants who delay in bringing certain documents,” said Hakulipa.

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