By CHILA NAMAIKO -
MARKEETERS in Southern Province are happy with the disbursement of soft loans under the Presidential initiative and have called for access to the funds by all marketeers.
President Edgar Lungu during his recent visit to the Copperbelt Province assured marketeers in Chingola, Kitwe, Kalulushi and Ndola that loans would be given out to traders to help them grow and sustain their businesses.
About K1 million has so far been issued to more than 500 traders at Chisokone Market in Kitwe.
Speaking in a walk-in interview yesterday, some marketeers from various trading areas in Choma appealed to the Government to extend the empowerment funds to the province.
Agness Mweetwa, a trader from Old Kalukungu Market, said the empowerment funds were important for improving their businesses.
“This is a very good initiative our Government has taken to empower marketeers. We are happy that our colleagues on the Copperbelt are accessing the loans and we humbly appeal to Government to also consider us,” she said.
Another trader, Mervis Moonga said for a long time, marketeers had been struggling to access capital from lending institutions due to the high interest rates charged.
She said the difficulties in accessing finances had deprived them of the much-needed funds to grow their businesses.
Ms Moonga said the giving out of soft loans was important in addressing the numerous financial challenges among the marketeers.
Abel Mweene, a trader from Shampande Market, urged the Government to spread out the loans to include struggling marketeers in Choma.
Mr Mweene praised the Patriotic Front administration for its commitment to uplifting the welfare of marketeers through the soft loans.
He was thankful to President Lungu for coming up with the scheme and was hopeful that more marketeers would soon start accessing the funds.