By Wesley Ngwenya
The Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) was set up to help Zambians who wanted to build businesses in various sectors of the economy. Among others to benefit include youths, women and those living with HIV. More than three years after being set up there are still very few Zambians, if any, who have benefited from the Citizens Economic Empowerment Fund.

I happen to be one of the people who have applied to benefit from the same fund. Even though it has been more than three months since I submitted a completed application form including a detailed business plan I have not heard from CEEC. Worse still, no one at CEEC seems to have any information regarding my application except for one man–a Mr. Mulenga who is never in his offices at the Boma. Now, one wonders and gets suspicious regarding the transparency of the process. If the application goes through a process and is evaluated by several persons or departments, shouldn’t there be a traceable process throughout? Shouldn’t someone else besides Mr. Mulenga have information regarding any applicant? Is Mr. Mulenga the only individual who evaluates, recommends, answers questions, calls applicants, hands out the checks and handles the K10 billion plus allocated to Lusaka district? If so, don’t you think that compromises the transparency in the whole thing?

It is actually sickening when you have to hop from one office on one side of town to another office on the opposite side of town to try and trace your application. Three months after the application, I still don’t know at what stage my application is at. No one at CEEC seems to have that information. I have left so many messages and have never been called back. The personnel at the main CEEC offices in Lusaka are rude and don’t seem to know what they are doing. They are not courteous-always eating in front of customers and continue their annoying Bemba conversations even after you make your presence known.

Many Zambians including myself have invested a lot in our original business plans. This is intellectual property that we hold rights to in our own ways. One wonders what measures have been put in place by CEEC to protect this information. Ideas are worth a lot. It is ideas that have produced great products, huge corporations and the world’s richest man.

Zambia needs to invest more in intellectual property and promote free thinking and entrepreneurship. Start funding those businesses so they can start building business empires. Stop wasting time having meetings if they are never conclusive. Start working and give people their money. The government has already wasted taxpayer’s money on salaries, allowances and the tea you are always drinking.

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84 COMMENTS

  1. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE WHY IS IT THAT IN ZAMBIA ALL THINGS ARE TREATED AS PERSONAL.PEOPLE ARE TO BENEFIT FROM CEEC SO WHY SHOULD THE WORKERS THERE BEHAVE LIKE THAT? CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE PLEASE…

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  2. the problem with government is that every time they make a joke it’s a law; and every time they make a law it’s a joke.

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  3. Good morning all :)>-

    Best monday of my life. Why?, courtesy of LT for the boxing pictures!
    Now, this CEEC thing could end up being the biggest scam that hit this nation. The chaps are holding w/shop after w/shop and yet we dont see any money being released to the intended benficiaries. I’m yet to come across one person who has accessed these funds. If at all there are any, then i guarantee you that they are MMD cadres!

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  4. What you have described Wesley is a typical work culture in Zambia whether its government departments or NGO. It is the applicant who gives these guys a job, and one wonders why the applicant is the most ignored and his/her application disappear as soon as it is received. The working style Wesley is such that you need to pay (bribe) someone to “protect” your application. Bribe again to ensure that your application is considered. Bribe again so that your application is successfull. Apart from your bussiness proposal which you have invested time and brains, you need some “extra capital” for your application monitoring. That is Zambia my friend. We have alot of work to do.

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  5. The problem is chaps who served under the architect of plunder ka chiluba are still occupying all these influencial positions in our systems of goverment. you will be shocked to hear after ten years that this money will no be accounted for.and along the line some will have misbehaved with the loot and died of AIDS leaving a house in chalala with a gang of offsprings littered across the country.some will have fled the country some will be in retirement so it will be difficuilt to hold any one responsible because we have been hearing about this soap for quite some time now infact in the time of ba LPM.how much is the total loot in this coffer by the way
    those who have the imformation.

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  6. **==
    Hai people!,man kunde,G baby,sister,3RqU.etc

    its true the intended beneficiaries are totally not reached,something fishy….

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  7. Wesley,

    I did not understand how this offended you: “annoying Bemba conversations”. Would it have been different if the conversations were in English or French or Ndebele or Chewa?

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  8. Thanks LT for bringing out such info. The more we talk about such issues affecting our nation, the better. But the question is, do govt officials visit this site? Even if they do, I dont think they take what people say on this fora. So LT, you can actually come up with a channel of communication so that our points are disseminated to relevant authorities.

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  9. So you mean we have “a Mulenga” evaluating applications?? That explains it! No wonder things are not moving!! 😕

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  10. It time someone conducted an attitude and financial Audit at the GOOD FOR NOTHING BUT SOCIETAL AND NATIONAL LOSS – CEEC. It just a heap of to be SWEPT METICULOUSLY

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  11. Wesley
    I think I have now grown to respect you. Just the fact that you applied for the CEEC and wanted to start your own business has made me have a kind of new respect for you and I now apologize for any negative comment I may have thrown your way. I seriously hope many Zambians think like you do. You have taken a leap and decided to venture in your own business.

    Now to comment on the story. I think the reason the CEEC takes so long to respond to people is because there are too many applicants. I remember reading stories that in some parts of the country, there where shortages of application forms. This tells me that they did not anticipate the demand for the CEEC. [tbc

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  12. #9,
    Read my postings on same thread.. dont lose heart. Sarah just misunderstood you. She is not as bad as everything seems to appear.

    To the main topic..
    I dont understand a thing wesley Ngwenya is trying to talk about..
    Can you start again Wesley?????? 8-|8-|8-|8-|8-|8-|8-|8-|:-ss:-ss

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  13. Dont even bother applying for the if you are not an MMD cadre. This fund is not for you and I but those who go to dance at the airport.

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  14. cont. #22]

    to be this high and so the influx of applicants must be overwhelming the little staff that has to read all the application forms and approve them.

    My advice to Wesley is find out what is going on. If they don’t seem to be interested, find a businessman in LSK who will be willing to partner with you and venture with them in business.

    You could also try being a pain to the CEEC officials until you get the loan. Just my 2 cents there.

    Wesley just the fact that you applied for the CEEC in a quest to venture in your own business places you on a high platter in my book (not that it matters). For that I congratulate you…=d>=d>=d>

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  15. Free market Capitalist

    Good morning. Can the fact that there are too many applications be used as an excuse for the Delay in responding to applications? On the contrary, to me, it simply shows incompetence on the part of CEEC. Why set up an institution that is unable to respond to the needs of the citizens? People are being paid there using tax payers money mind you. Something needs to be done. In fact, an audit would be the best solution!

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  16. Too bad my application only took 3 weeks, Probably your buisness is a “green field(from sratch)” that has to go through several assessments including your reputation.As for me it was an already existing project that just lucked funds,we have infact already recoverd the money and plan to file onother application. just for some advise,before you take your plans to the CEEC have a chart with a banker,if the banker tells you that no bank can give a loan to such a buisness plan then dont waste your time with the CEEC because it will equally fail.If the bank says they can fund the project say at 30% or above interest proceed CEEC and never go back to the bank.

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  17. This is exactly how a typically very good idea can become bogged down but bureacratic inefficency,ignorance and arrogance spiced of course with the ever present animal in man:greed. The CEEC in the first place should have been administered by an institution with a track record of success in disbursement of such funds in a transparent and accountable manner. Civil servants where ever they have been involved in disbursing funds have messed it out of corruption,nepotism and general ignorance.Give this facility to a Bank or an insurance company to administer.

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  18. #27. Ba Moze

    Im fine and how are you??

    First of all I just want to thank you for responding to me in a respectful manner and I hope to show the same respect so please tell me if I step out of line.

    I just wanted to add that when they where setting up the institution, they did not anticipate that the demand would be this large. If you are the person approving applications and you are receiving close to over 50 applications a day with business plans and you have to approve some of them, you surely cannot do this in one day. I think the institution is understaffed. That is my opinion but that is not to say your reason could be wrong. Engine has pointed out that his application was[tbc

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  19. cont. #31]

    approved so I think it is because the institution is understaffed.

    What reasons do you have to believe the institution is poorly managed??

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  20. #28 ba Engines…

    ndipo mwashaina.you must be MMD or there is some link that you have within CEEC,How come your application just took three weeks and others have lost their applications in the process,no! no !no! there must be something fishy here coz alot of people have been complaining yet you had it all easy.anyway we know what happens.congrats that you achieved your goal so you will be helped for the 2nd time while others will keep waiting.mulebafye bwino guys we are all zedians.

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  21. Free Market Capitalist

    Yes, i agree that the institution could be understaffed but it all goes to show poor planning on the part of Govt. They obviously anticipated this kind of demand…after all, who does not want money in Zambia? My concern is that they (CEEC) are now operating at the pace The task force on corruption is operating on; SLOW! People are expecting much more than they are currently getting. In my opinion, i would call it a raw deal.

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  22. Good morning G Baby, Man Kunde, Baby C, 3RqU, Nine Chale, Maetero, Jamaco, Ba Moze, Zoe, Cutey and the rest. Hope you have notice that I’m nambala 1

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  23. ba moze..

    how can we have just one person (mulenga) be approving the applications,isnt there suppose to be a committee like that will sit and approve,if its only one person doing the approvals then hey some people will just have to keep dreaming on,CEEC is not even understaffed its just the attitude thats bad,someone wants to know how far his application has gone and he is told “we dont know” whats that?its not fair.

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  24. #28. Engines

    Congratulations on getting your form approved and well done. Hope you get approved the second time.

    #33. G BABY

    I’m sorry but I find the “pull him down” attitude you have portrayed towards Engines appalling. I tend to wonder why many Zambians have this attitude. If someone like HH is rich through business ventures, you accuse him of corruption during the liquidation of companies. If someone in Zambia owns more than 3 cars, you accuse him of satanism. Why do we have such an attitude in Zambia. We must be thinking of encouraging people and offering solutions to their problems than pulling them down like you have done. G BABY prejudicial assumptions are wrong.

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  25. sister

    morning sweet sis,hey gal how are you doing?
    make sure you have a nice day and dont allow anyone to steal your joy.happy monday.

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  26. #34. Ba Moze

    You point is valid but complaining is not going to solve the problem. Perhaps we should tell the CEEC to either increase their staff. I am sure you remember the inconvenience we experienced on the Lusaka Times at one time (slow down, you are posting comments to quickly). My point is you cant have it right the first time. This is trial and error. We must be urging the CEEC to find lasting solutions to the problem like having more application forms available and increasing the staff.

    Insulting the CEEC is not going to solve the problem. It will just fuel the flames further. Your points are valid though.

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  27. Zambias intrisic problems:

    1.Beauracracy and red tape.
    2.Bad customer relations from both Private and Public institutions.
    3.Lack of effective communication dispelling Public outcry
    4.Poor Marketing tools
    5.Poor or non existence of services
    6.Poor standards
    7.Poor Public confidence in institutions of Governance
    8.High level of corruption
    9.Police do not instil confidence in Public
    10.Poor social welfare and exploitative pension schemes
    11.Very difficult to set up business
    12.Most institutions lack customer friendly channels of comunication.

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  28. 33. G BABY
    Sometimes it can go with luck but again the type of buisness you are proposing.Is it a strait forward buisness or you want to experiment? your plan can be good but if you cant prove that you have neccessary skills or reputation to execute the plan then a “Mr Mulenga” might not be frank enough to share the bad news.So the best is to take your Plan to DBZ and ask for a loan for the buisness if they accept then forget about DBZ and go to CEEC,this way you would be going to CEEC knowing fully that your plans are workable.Make sure you company bank account is a busy one even with very small amounts.By the way start with registering a company before going to CEEC and not vise versa

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  29. Free-market capitlst

    i dont think i have that attitude,my dear if the country will keep running institutions like this then i dont know what will happen next.i know exactly what am talking about and its not like am jelousy of engines no! he did it so fast believe me it could be because of some connection.pa zed z rich keep getting richer and the poor poorer.i can give you an example of passports(though out of topic) some people access them within three days while others will have to wait for over two months so when i try to complain then i have the pull them down attitude NO! MAN I KNOW WHAT AM TALKING ABOUT.THANKS THOPUGH YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO THINK ANYTHING BUT I KNOW BETTER

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  30. To set up a business from outside is almost impossible without having to physically travel to Zambia.

    13. Expensive and costly tax collection methods!!!!!!!!!!
    14. Endless charges
    15. Endless contradictions: People pay tax without seeing the benefit.
    16.Unnecessary service charges ie rates, property rates, fuel levy, without intended outcome. No one accountable for this nor any channel through which complaints can be raised or addressed

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  31. #45. G BABY

    OK. Maybe you are right and maybe you are not. We are all entitled to our opinions anyway and I will respect yours.

    Anyway I am off.

    I am in the process of setting up a blogger page where people can just brainstorm on business ideas in Africa.

    I will let you know when I find the time to set up the page.

    It would be great if everyone (on this blog) had to take part.

    Until next time.

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  32. #43 relax,
    Good morning.Nice analysis. Am sure you meant bureaucracy and not beauracracy. Is it so?

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  33. By the way Mrs Mable mung’omba gave her phone number on ZNBC “kwacha good morning program” sayng if any one with a viable plan has problems they can call her on the same number unfortunately i dint write it down myself.in my opinion, if you are applying for smaller amounts i would advise you to use rural centres as opposed to urban reason being they tend to be more congestion and swindlers in urban centers than rural centers. to do that your company must indicate that somehow your buisness will be of benefit to that particular area.

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  34. **==
    Good morning zambia, Please help on our kitwe residents may access the CEEC fund application forms. Mr Mulenga please are the rightfull person to assist me!

    regards

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  35. On corruption, everybody knows what goes on without any mitigation steps taken.

    A lot of Council workers and land officers own more property than way above thier levels of income.

    20.Land allocation is seriously corrupt.
    21. Judicial proceeses favour the rich
    22. Tax revenue is completely misplaced

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  36. 45. G BABY
    Forget connections, if you want connections then spend your time at the golf club you might make one or two but i can assure you they wont take you anywhere.Most people complaining are just late comers trying there luck.With or without a connection your plan must be Viable by bank starndads.That money is not for free and those chaps at CEEC will be audited. so G BABY just concentrate on the your buisness plan and it will work out. Most people that depend on connections usualy end up in trouble either there buisness collapses or they get sucked by lawyers before ending up in jail. Zambia airways is a good example LPM dies the connection is cut, the debt gets exposed…..

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  37. free market capitlst

    yes we both have our own opinions.
    hey go ahead and open that page we will definately be contributing after all we are one.will be waiting.for now keep well.

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  38. I have just been reading the previous thread “Zambians abroad urged to help the government”

    :d

    THIS GOVT IS A JOKE IN ITSELF!! YOU IGNORE MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS AT HOME AND EXPECT ME TO COME IN!!

    BA Maureen hit this Nail on the head by saying ” if you can not listen to the locals, how are you going to listen to us who are thousands of Miles away?”.

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  39. Shame on you CEEC. The Issue at hand needs to recieve the most serous attaention they issue deserves. This is un acceptable. Bad atitudes in offices died a long tiem ago. Also poor management is to blame.

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  40. Free-Market-Capitlst

    To set up such a scheme and yet not having capacity to carry it thru is a serious indictment on the capacity of our Government to perform. This is a serious venture that goes beyond the Grz plans but worked out in parttnership with our well wishers, the donors. It is of extreme significance to our economic growth and one which we can not afford to fail. This is a case of teaching someone to fish unlike giving him handouts. The more people in the targetted categories access these funds the better. This must be worked out with utmost urgency.

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  41. Free-Market-Capitlst

    To set up such a scheme and yet not having capacity to carry it thru is a serious indictment on the capacity of our Government to perform. This is a serious venture that goes beyond the Grz plans but worked out in parttnership with our well wishers, the donors. It is of extreme significance to our economic growth and one which we can not afford to fail. This is a case of teaching someone to fish unlike giving him handouts. The more people in the targetted categories access these funds the better. This must be worked out with utmost urgency.

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  42. engines..
    thanks for your advice but why are you sounding like you are losing your temper.am not too sure if i should apply to CEEC for help.my business is staright forward and it generates its own capital so…nway thanks will go the golf club to make connections that will not take me anywhere. ha ha ha honestly you think i have time for such no i dont.i have better things to do than search for connections.

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  43. **==
    #30 Ba Moze,

    mudala was in a meeting, just seen those punches,boxing is hectic thats why bafwila,..nalepauka sana,yaliko bad:d/

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  44. Honestly speaking GRZ workers lacks despline starting from the top most to the bottom.The Bureacratic structures of the government are not bad for the development of a poor country like Zambia.The citizens of this country lacks social capital(there exist poor social relations between individuals and the government) to conduct business in a trustworth manner.

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  45. 35. SISTER Good morning. Yes I noticed that you hit No. l-) but just because I was sleeping :d The day hast just began. We will see.

    Greetings everyone

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  46. 60. G BABY
    welcome and sorry if i sounded like i lost my temper those are consequencies of blogging while working, presure can unknowingly be transfered.Good your buisness is self sustainable. Buisness based on borrowed money should only be the last resort and the borrowed money should only constitute a small component or else you will be forced to know what differentiates the magistrate and industrial courts even when you are not a lawyer.Corrupt Charts with Bailiffs will be the order of the day.so G Baby, where you can please stay out of loans to avoid bad memories

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  47. Dont blame CEEC.Its the government.Did you know that CEEC has never been funded ever since it was established.Am in the private sector and i have applied to no avail

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  48. #69 SHIMOLLY

    But i thought there were funds already for this thing. You are confussing me now! These people are being paid salaries, ka? Can someone help calirify please.

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  49. WHAT HAPPENED TO ACCOUNTABILITY,?

    PEOPLE SHOULD BE HELD ACOUNTABLE FOR THEIR MISS USE OF FUNDS OR INFORMATION.
    IF SOMEONE KNOWS THAT THEY WILL HAVE A CASE TO ANSWER WHEN THINGS GO WRONG, THEY WOULD NOT BEHAVE LIKE HEAD LESS CHICKENS.
    WAKE UP PIPO,

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  50. BRING BACK THE CANE FOR THE LAZY PIPO IN OFFICE.

    MAY BE, THEN THEY WILL BE ALERT AND PRODUCTIVE.

    LAZY BUGGERS.

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  51. Let the CEEC put standard operating procedures in place bearing an indication of feedback dates. An example would be an applicant gets their application stampted with a date of receipt upon lodging the application with CEEC. The numbering system should bear the centre code.The applicant can then be given this number as a means of following up.
    I am assuming that as a young and vibrant organisation, many of those employed are graduates and as such, professionals. If not, let an audit of the employees be conducted and justifications given for not employing trainable people.

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  52. CEEC and Public-Private Sector Partnership are skelem. These are conduits for the bast.ards in government to steal money.

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