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SMEs given $100m loan

Staff Writer

SMALL-SCALE businesspeople have already utilised the $100 million loan facility approved for the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) by the National Social Security Association (NSSA).

In April last year NSSA approved a loan facility targetted at ZNCC members in the small to medium-scale (SME) sector. The ZNCC was given $200 million, which funds were to be disbursed in two installments of $100 million each. The Jewel Bank of Zimbabwe was appointed to administer the funds under stringent conditions: borrowers should be ZNCC members, should employ less than 50 individuals, and a maximum loan of $5 million per borrower was to be given out at an interest rate of 32%.

A spokesman for the facility this week said the first $100 million had been exhausted and once NSSA had considered the latest Jewel Bank’s report, the other $100 million was expected.

He said there were 25 beneficiaries for the money. The Midlands province was the major beneficiary with 10 beneficiaries receiving $52 million. Mashonaland and Matabeleland had six beneficiaries each receiving $18 720 000 and $14 040 000 respectively. Harare had three beneficiaries who received $14 560 000.

The fund revolves for three years and repayments are made every month. The spokesman said once the process was at full throttle the organisation expected more than 60 members to benefit. There have been constant complaints raised by SMEs on the disbursement of funds from government coffers. They have accused government of politicising the funds allocated, resulting in the same individuals receiving money regularly.

The spokesman said for the new applicants the Jewel Bank had approved 25 projects, deferred five and declined six, bringing the total to 36.

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