By MAIMBOLWA MULIKELELA -
STANBIC Bank Zambia plans to disburse more than K65 million to more than 10,000 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) this year.
From 2012 to 2014, the bank disbursed about K60 million and supported more than 8,000 businesses.
Stanbic Bank chief executive Charles Mudiwa said the bank had invested significantly into the SME sector to address some of the challenges.
Mr Mudiwa said the bank targeted to grow the SME portfolio to more than 10,000 businesses and had budgeted more than K65million in lending products.
“Some may recall a few years back when we rolled out the SME Tamanga offering aimed at providing quick and easy access to working capital finance. We disbursed over K60 million in SME loans and supported over 8,000 businesses in total,” Mr Mudiwa said.
He said this in Lusaka on Wednesday at the unveiling of a new range of financial solutions for SMEs.
Mr Mudiwa said the private sector has immense potential to help diversify the Zambian economy and this can be done through the empowerment of SMEs to participate in alternative sectors.
Officiating at the occasion, Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe said the Government recognised the importance of provision of affordable financing solutions to the SMEs.
“While the potential contribution of the SMEs towards development is renowned, there still remains a lot that needs to be done to realise meaningful and sustainable participation of the SMEs in economic development.
“The high cost of doing business, poor quality of products and the limited access to affordable sources of financing remain our major challenges as promoters of the SME development in the country,” Ms Mwanakatwe said.
She said the Government continued to implement reforms aimed at unlocking and maximising the huge potential of the sector.
For example, reforms being put in place to improve the country’s business environment to make it more responsive to the needs of the small businesses include review of the quality of infrastructure and technical regulation framework.
Ms Mwanakatwe urged the SMEs not to betray the trust of the financial sector by ensuring compliance with the financial requirements of the services provided.