Minister of Finance Dr Bwalya Ngandu has called on the private sector to take advantage of the US$750 million financing facility offered by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in order for them to help sustain national economic growth.

AfDB Country Manager Mary Monyau announced that a facility of US$59million is available for the re-development of Mpulungu Harbour.

In a statement availed to News Diggers! Dr Ngandu took the opportunity to request the support of the African Development Bank and other development partners in assisting Zambia in returning to fiscal health and achieving sustained fiscal consolidation.

He noted that the facility would help achieve stability and become competitive in the domestic and international market place.

“Zambia has a sustainable lending limit of US$750 million at the African Development Bank for both sovereign and non-sovereign borrowers for 2019. This is a honeycomb of empowerment for Zambia’s small and medium scale enterprises. I would also like to assure you that government would soon finalise its internal processes so that small and medium scale enterprises soon begin to get the money,” Dr Ndandu said.

And Monyau who was speaking on behalf of the AfDB president during the consultative dialogue held at the Ministry of Finance Headquarters in Lusaka congratulated Dr Ngandu on his appointment.

“I bring you warm greetings and wishes of glad tidings for the Zambian economy from the President of the African Development Bank, the management, and the staff. I would like to reaffirm that a further US$50 million lending facility is available through the Development Bank of Zambia as many international development financial institutions were keenly following the proceedings between the Bank and the Government because they consider the Development Bank of Zambia as a critical factor in demonstrating the effectiveness of development finance and boosting private sector growth and competitiveness,” said Monyau.

Meanwhile, African Development Bank Country Manager said a facility of USD 59 million is available for the re-development of Mpulungu Harbour and also confirmed that a grant of USD 30 million from the Netherlands is also at arm’s length for the project.

During a bilateral meeting with his Rwandese counterpart Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana held in Lusaka, Tuesday, Dr. Ng’andu affirmed that through the participation of the private sector and the support of development partners, Zambia was keen to promote trade in the African Great Lakes Region by redeveloping Mpulungu Harbour and creating a fast route for bulk exports in produce such as cement, steel, sugar and other agriculture products.

Dr Ng’andu took the opportunity to urge the African Development Bank to continue their close collaboration with relevant public and private sector organisations in order to accelerate the performance of the private sector as envisaged in the 2017-2021 country strategy paper.

“You need to help us to strengthen business acceleration capacity for small and medium enterprises so that our people in the private sector can access the US$750 million sustainable lending facility, such an approach will have a great impact in augmenting the government’s efforts aimed at harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit among Zambians, including women and the youth,” explained Dr Ngandu.