The Presidential Empowerment Initiative Fund (PEIF) initiated by President Edgar Lungu last year as a vehicle for poverty alleviation through empowerment of traders has disbursed a K12 million to vendors and marketeers across the country.
An additional 4,000 bicycles valued at K4 million and 40 motor cycles valued at K800,000 has also been distributed as part of this on-going national empowerment initiative.
This was disclosed by PEIF Chief Executive Officer, Mr Joseph Chilinda during the handover of 150 bicycles to traders in Mporokoso and Chilubula over the weekend.
And more than 400 traders in Mporokoso are earmarked to start receiving interest free cash loans through National Savings Bank during the course of this week following completion of the details verification exercise.
Mr Chilinda, who was accompanied by the PEIF Patron Chanda Kabwe who is also Kitwe District Commissioner and President of the Association of Vendors and Marketeers in Zambia Able Chikwa explained that the initiative was making a huge difference and had greatly helped hundreds of traders to boost their businesses.
“From the feedback that we are getting, we are happy that this programme is changing a lot of lives. Bicycles for example are making it easy for traders to transport their merchandise, thereby reducing the cost of doing business, improving levels of income and profitability,” he explained.
Mr Chilinda appealed to the traders to pay back the interest-free loans in the stipulated time so that the money could be given to other traders in order that more people could benefit from the initiative.
And Mr Kabwe told the traders that President Lungu had the interests of vendors and marketeers at heart and wanted to see them empowered because they played an important role in the economy of the country.
Meanwhile, the Association of Vendors and Marketeers in Zambia has paid glowing tribute to President Lungu for being very passionate about the vendors and marketeers and for coming up with the empowerment initiative which was changing the lives of the marketeers.
“For a long time now our cry as vendors and marketeers has been with regard to the difficulties and challenges we face in accessing capital and transporting our goods. We are glad that Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu has been the first President to respond to our cries and came up with this empowerment fund in addition to the many developmental projects that he is implementing across the country,” said Mr Chikwa.
And the recipients of the bicycles in Mporokoso and Chilubula praised President Lungu for caring about the vendors and marketeers.
“I would like to thank the President for this initiative. We used to struggle a lot to raise capital and to transport our goods from one point to another. But now with this help us a lot. We have hope that things will be better,” said Mr Katai, a bicycle recipient.