By HELEN ZULU –
THE Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) has funded over 919 women projects across various sectors of the economy.
Commerce, Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Raymond Mpundu said CEEC had a deliberate policy that allowed 40 per cent of the disbursed loans to be allocated to women and had since inception funded 919 women projects.
Mr Mpundu said this at a meeting with Buseko market traders to mark the International Women’s Day in Lusaka at the weekend which was organised by his ministry and statutory bodies under it.
“As we speak to you now, CEEC has a deliberate policy that allows 40 per cent of the disbursed loans to be allocated to women and from inception, it has funded 919 women across various sectors of the economy,” he said.
Mr Mpundu said traders at Buseko market should form cooperative groups that could bring about empowerment.
He said the traders had the capability to form cooperative groups that could bring about empowerment especially for women.
Mr Mpundu said cooperatives were well organised entities that act as alternatives to inclusive growth and had the potential to create jobs and improve income levels.
He said Government was keen on moving from the traditional belief that cooperative groups were solely based on agriculture.
“Cooperatives are not only for the agriculture sector, they can also be formed in timber, furniture and many other sectors of the economy.
“I would like to urge you to form cooperative groups that can bring about empowerment especially for women,” he said.
Mr Mpundu said cooperatives had the power to foster business growth through empowerment programmes.
He said Government had realised the challenges that the traders face such as lack of information, skills, tools and productive resources that when tackled, could facilitate the growth of their businesses.
Mr Mpundu said Government was committed to ensuring that traders were empowered through institutions like the CEEC and the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) among others.
The statutory bodies under the ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry include the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS), Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA), the Zambia Weights and Measure Agency (ZWMA) as well as the CEEC and the ZDA.