THE Presidential Fund Initiative for small scale traders and marketeers has cheered many Kabwe traders who stand to benefit from the interest free loans ranging from K1, 000 to K5, 000.
And Fund national coordinator Chanda Kabwe has warned unscrupulous people masquerading as agents of the fund and extorting huge sums of money from unsuspecting applicants through the selling of forms.
Speaking during a meeting for at the Boma hall on Thursday, Lungowe Mwangelwa a trader said the small scale traders, particularly the women have suffered a lot because of lacking collateral to secure loans and that the initiative would help.
“Us women do a lot to fend for our families and just from the street some are widows, we cannot secure funds to improve our livelihoods hence this initiative will go a long way. We thank the President for this gesture and would like to pledge total abiding to the guidelines,” she said in her vote of thanks.
And Mr. Kabwe said that it was an offence for any people to charge any fees for application forms and warned of stern action against the perpetrators.
“I would like to warn of stern action against anyone selling the forms because these forms are free of charge. And if anyone is found breaking the guidelines, they risk being prosecuted and eventually being jailed,” warned Mr. Kabwe who is also Kitwe district commissioner.
He further said that Central province was in the second phase and that the beneficiaries are expected to receive their share in March. He also took a swipe at some opposition leaders who are claiming to write off the loans as being senseless. He said that it wouldn’t be economically prudent to write off the loans because the fund was set up as a revolving fund and would not be given on political patronage.
“This fund is non-political but is aimed at empowering the impoverished small scale traders and marketeers but we have heard some opposition leaders politicking about the funds that they will write them off. There are many beneficiaries and if you scrap the revolving fund it means you block others from accessing the fund,” said Mr. Kabwe.
In one of the meetings he addressed, UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has been reported as saying that he would write off the loans once elected as President on 11th August. Mr. Hichilema maintains that the amounts are too small to have a meaningful impact on people’s livelihoods.
Meanwhile lawyer and PF legal counsel Tutwa Ngulube has reiterated Mr. kabwe’s warning of jail against people who will take advantage of the fund to extort money from the hopeless marketeers.
Mr. Ngulube thanked the President for considering Central province and Kabwe in particular because of the high levels of unemployment and poverty levels.