Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Seyuba asks financial firms to help SMEs create wealth
By Vincent Chilikima in Solwezi
Fri 15 Nov. 2013, 14:00 CAT

NORTH Western Province permanent secretary Augustine Seyuba has urged financial institutions in the province to tailor products that will enable local SMEs to create wealth.

Speaking during a meeting at his office for 11 financial institutions operating in Solwezi, Seyuba implored the managers to support the government's policy of reducing the cost of doing business.

He said the booming mining activities in the province required a vibrant and innovative banking sector that would tailor its products to accord an opportunity for local SMEs to create wealth.

"I do not subscribe to 'poverty reduction' but to 'wealth creation' because certain terminologies tend to maintain a status quo. So your cost of borrowing should not discourage SMEs in doing business," he said.

Seyuba cited invoice-discounting as one of the services that may be relevant to SMEs that conduct business with the mines, adding that banking institutions should focus on stimulating economic activities of the local people.

He further implored bankers to innovate localised bank products that take into consideration the disparities of poverty levels between the rural and urban dwellers adding that bank managers should feel obliged in helping the province to develop.

"You need to appreciate the locally available skills and resources so that you come up with relevant financial empowerment programmes. For example, we can develop our timber industry to produce world class furniture and products," he added.

Seyuba further called for relevant corporate responsibility projects that improve the social wellbeing of the people in the province such as support to agriculture, education, health and the welfare of the girl child.

Meanwhile, chairperson of the newly formed North Western Financial Institutions Forum, Davy Maibale, commended Seyuba's initiative of bringing bankers together and for providing a forum that would link them to government policies and operations.

Maibale, who is also Zanaco Solwezi branch manager, said the forum would be meeting quarterly to review how each financial institution was incorporating government and stakeholder suggestions in their operations.

He said banks would be considering product expansion such as ATMs to all the districts and social responsibility infrastructure development programmes such as borehole provision and youth development programmes.

Amongst the financial institutions present at the meeting include: Zanaco, NATSAVE, Barclays, FNB, Stanbic, Finance Bank, Stanchart, Cavmont, Investrust, Focus and ABI.

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