FINANCE minister Dr Bwalya Ng’andu has requested the support of the African Development Bank and other development partners in assisting Zambia in returning to fiscal health and achieving sustained fiscal consolidation.
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 to accelerate the performance of 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 US$750 million sustainable lending facility,” he said. “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.”
Dr Ng’andu said the private sector should take advantage of the $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 $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,” Dr Ng’andu.
He was speaking 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.
Monyau reaffirmed that a further $50 million lending facility was 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 DBZ 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 ADB country manager said a facility of $59 million was available for the re-development of Mpulungu Harbour, a Great Lakes Region port in Northern Province.
Monyau also confirmed that a grant of $30 million from the Netherlands was also at arm’s length for the project to which news Dr Ng’andu responded that “We will do everything possible to ensure a quick start of re-development works at Mpulungu Harbour.”
And during a bilateral meeting with his Rwandese counterpart Dr Uzziel Ndagijimana, Dr Ng’andu said 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.
This is according to Chileshe Kandeta, Ministry of Finance spokesperson.