By CHUSA SICHONE –
BETTERNOW Finance Company (BFC), a wholly-owned Zambian institution, has disbursed K56 million in loans and other structured facilities to various Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
BFC yesterday provided bridging finance to Kobs Transporters Limited towards the acquisition of a Marcopolo bus worth K1, 920,000.
BFC managing director Noel Nkoma said in Lusaka yesterday during the handover of the Marcopolo bus to Kobs Transporters Limited that the company had a clear vision of providing tailor-made and structured financial products and services that created real value to its chosen customers.
“Our deliberate and guiding philosophy is to ‘lend for change’ and in 2013, we managed to disburse K56 million in loans and other structured facilities to various SMEs through order financing, bills discounting, working capital support and equity release.
“Our policy is not to turn away customers and if a transaction cannot be supported by our balance sheet, we have entered into a financing arrangement with a named commercial bank to facilitate the successful closure of the deal,” he said.
BFC is a registered financial institution which has been operating since April 1, 2012.
The company’s shareholders are individual Zambians and Zambian-owned institutions.
Mr Nkoma said BFC was eager to empower indigenous SMEs and, therefore, its decision to assist Kobs Transporters Limited after being approached.
Kobs Transporters Limited managing director Kombe Kalonga said receipt of the Marcopolo bus was a step in the right direction and a sign of growth for his company.
He said the latest acquisition would bring the total of the fleet of buses to 13.
On lending financial institutions, Mr Kalonga said a lot of such institutions were willing to lend their funds to SMEs and other organisations but the poor repayment culture was deterring them from doing so.
Kobs Transporters Limited was established in 2004 and its buses operate between Zambia and Malawi.
The company is also involved in farming, ranching and security services.