Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya says commercial banks in the country are denying ordinary Zambians business opportunities to advance and develop the country by not giving them a chance to access capital.
And Siliya says there is an illusion that land is finishing in Zambia because some people have never flown over the country to see the vast swathes of land still available.
Speaking during the launch of 2018 Northern Province Tourism and Investment Expo hosted by the Lusaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Lusaka, Siliya observed that commercial banks were denying Zambians business opportunities to help develop the country by not giving ordinary citizens a chance to access capital.
She argued that financial institutions were only fond of using government funds to make more money and reap profits, but are not involving ordinary Zambians to enhance financial inclusion.
Siliya also expressed concern that despite the aggressive efforts being made at various provincial levels to stage the tourism expos, they may amount to nothing if Zambians do not participate in tapping the huge investment potentials.
Northern Province is gearing up to host an unprecedented Tourism and Investment Expo, which commences next Tuesday, under the theme: “unlocking investment opportunities, 100 years after the end of the First World War.”
“After these Expos, we don’t want to hear that it’s only investors from foreign countries who have invested. We want to hear that ‘Mulenga’ will be the owner of a big Protea Hotel in Kasama; that should be the end result. We want to hear that ‘Banda’ left Eastern Province and is the owner of a big harbour in Mweru wa Ntipa in Luapula Province. But this is not going to happen unless the financial sector recognises that they cannot be following behind, but have to take a chance on Zambians. Banks, please, don’t just make money using government money, make money because you are giving a chance on Zambians,” Siliya appealed.
“We are welcoming foreign investors; yes, that’s good, but we also must ensure that the space for Zambians is filled by Zambians. But that won’t happen unless the financial sector gets on board. So, the message from government to banks and all in the financial sector is: ‘let’s work together to truly tell our story by ensuring that we all do our part’.”
Siliya also reiterated that the potential of Northern, Central and Luapula provinces, as discovered through Expos, depended on the availability of financial resources to be fully-tapped.
“We want you, the banks, to take a chance on ‘Haamambo,’ ‘Banda,’ ‘Mulenga’ and every other Zambian so that they can also be part of this investment potential. Let’s change our story; being rich in Zambia should not only be associated with corruption, but with hard work and good business. The people that deny Zambians business opportunities are Zambians in these banks,” she argued.
And Siliya, who is also Information and Broadcasting Minister, said there is an illusion that land is finishing in Zambia because some people have never flown over the country to see the vast swathes of land still available.
“As part of decentralisation, we have to develop this country so that it’s not only Lusaka Province, which should be talking about the wonders of Lusaka. Each one of us should be able to live in any part of this country because the infrastructure is there. The reason we have this illusion that land is finishing in Zambia, in Lusaka, Copperbelt, Livingstone, could be because some people have never had the opportunity to fly over Zambia and see how vast the country is,” said Siliya – SUMA SYSTEMS.