Marketeers swindled over empowerment funds


Unscrupulous people masquerading as workers of the Presidential Empowerment Initiative Fund are on the loose collecting money from unsuspecting marketeers and vendors whom they are promising that if they pay a deposit amount of money to them, they would be able to access the funds within a short time.

Presidential Empowerment Fund manager Joseph Chilinda said he had received reports that some people masquerading as workers of the empowerment initiative were collecting K70 from individual marketeers in Solwezi, while in Mbala they were collecting K40 from individual marketeers.

Mr Chilinda said in Kitwe yesterday during a press briefing that the marketeers and vendors should not fall prey to such kind of lies from unscrupulous people.

He said marketeers should remain alert and report such people to the police.

“The Presidential Empowerment Initiative Fund does not get anything from the marketeers and vendors. Those masquerading as our workers who are collecting money from people are just crooks, thieves who should be reported to the police. It is sad that a good initiative from President Edgar Lungu is being abused by some unscrupulous people.

“I can tell you that it is a matter of time before the law catches up with them. They should stop now or else if they are caught, they will feel the weight of the law. We have reports that in Solwezi, they were getting K70 from marketeers and vendors, while in Mbala, they were getting K40 from marketeers,” Mr Chilinda said.

And Mr Chilinda said the empowerment initiative was a good idea from President Lungu which was aimed at helping the poor marketeers and so people should not politicize it.

“Unlike teachers, nurses and other professionals who can access loans from banks, marketeers cannot access loans. When they access loans, they are charged exorbitant interest rates by some money lending institutions. It is because of this that President Lungu decided to come up with this initiative to help the marketeers boost their businesses.

“But it is very disappointing to find that some people want to politicize the initiative of empowering marketeers and are calling it a political donation or campaign. So if other people like teachers get loans, it is not political, but if marketeers get loans, then it is political donation? What kind of thing is this?” Mr Chilinda asked.

He said the Presidential Empowerment Initiative Fund was non-political and was being implemented by Amaka Multi-purpose Cooperative which worked like a development organisation.


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