Govt implores banks to enhance agro value chain
Published On February 28, 2018 » 1849 Views» By Evans Musenya Manda » Latest News, Stories
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By HOPE BWALYA –
THE Government has implored the financial sector to come up with packages that are tailor-made to enhance the value chain of the agriculture sector in Eastern Province.
Eastern Province Minister Makebi Zulu said the province was an agricultural hub that needed the banking sector to have packages aimed at improving value-addition of agricultural produce.
Speaking during the launch of the Atlasmara branch in Katete yesterday, Mr Zulu said about 95 per cent of the agricultural produce in the province was produced by the subsistent farmers who needed better financial incentives to motivate them.
“Banking should not be business as usual here in Eastern Province. We would like to see a difference in the way that banking is done. Eastern Province is an agricultural place, so we need tailor-made packages that will fit Eastern Province,” Mr Zulu said.
“So give affordable loans where the farmers will be able to have small machines where they will be able to add value to their produce.”
Atlasmara managing director James Koni appreciated the incentives that the Government had put up to enable the banking sector flourish and operate to serve customers.
“Government and the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) in 2017 have made a lot of changes in the way we operate,” Mr Koni said. “To start with, they have reduced the money that we put on reserve from 18 per cent to five per cent.”
Mr Koni said 12 months ago, financial institutions used to put K18 for the reserve for every K100 the institutions used to have, of which currently the institutions have to put K5.
He said the reduction had made it possible for financial institutions like his to have a little money to service other things needed to run the institution.
Mr Koni also said the bank was striving hard to ensure quality services were delivered to its customers.
A customer Smart Phiri said the public had high expectations from the bank as regards customer service standards.
Mr Phiri, who has been with Finance Bank since 2004 (Finance Bank was merged with Bank ABC to form Atlasmara), said it was important that the bank did not relax but worked harder to improve service delivery to its customers. -ZANIS

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