MINISTER of Small and Medium Enterprise Elias Mubanga says business in every sector is likely to improve by the end of the year because government and its cooperating partners are offloading a lot of money into the market.

And Mubanga has advised people to formalize their businesses, clubs, and cooperatives following the release of CDF guidelines.

In an interview, Friday, Mubanga said because of the goodwill which the UPND government had, cooperating partners were offloading a lot of money into the market.

“By the end of the year, at every sector, there will be an improvement in terms of running business. We are offloading a lot of money in the market like the coming of CDF. I need to tell you that because of the goodwill of this government, the cooperating partners are offloading a lot of money into the market and this money will be taped by the Zambians. So because of that, we are encouraging Zambian participation. This is a Zambian-driven economy of course with the assistance of those who have seen what we can do. So I think this is our year,” he said.

“We have now got some money which one of the financial institutions has thrown into the market. About K500 million has been offloaded in the market by Indo Zambia Bank. The conditions are okay, they are good but I need to renegotiate for more interest rate probably just to be a little for SMEs to access. So those with ideas to process the juice, especially from mango, guavas and any other fruit which goes to waste, we don’t want to waste anything in terms of our fruits within the country. Also, we [are] encouraging [that] as they do that, we also want to link them to the market like the chain stores. We want to promote the locally produced products like in this case processing of our own fruits, even the natural fruits which God has given us. We want our people to take advantage and my Ministry is fostering that. We will make sure that our ministry gives out incentives for those that want to get into processing plants.”

And Mubanga encouraged people to formalize their businesses, clubs, and cooperatives following the release of the CDF guidelines.

“In fact, CDF is sitting in the Ministry of Local Government through the local authority in all districts and constituencies. But my Ministry is very close to monitor, to make sure that SMEs with potential are able to tap into that. [So] we are encouraging our people to formalize their business, clubs, clusters, associations, companies, cooperatives. I need to be very frank with you, with the coming and increased CDF from 1.6 to 25 million throughout the country or the constituencies in the next six months, or rather by the end of this year, you will see what will happen with our SMEs. Those that are into carpentry, those that are into bricklaying, those that are into fabrication, they just have to take position now,” he said.

“Those that would want to apply for some tools, as I am saying the money is now coming in through, they are welcome to try and negotiate or come appeal to my ministry. They need to get [into] position now because the monies are almost into all the constituencies. In the next few weeks from now, we should be able to have [that] money. That money belongs to the Zambian people and the Zambian people are the ones to tap into this money. Now the guidelines are there and we are encouraging those that are skilled to apply because those are the ones which will be considered for contracts.”

Mubanga insisted that no political grouping would be prioritized in the disbursement of the CDF funds.

“’Because I belong to PF then I should not participate’, no! ‘I belong to DP then I should not participate’, that is not the new dawn government’s way of governance. We are carrying everyone along with us as long as you have something to bring, you have got an activity that will be able to create employment and bring something to your table. We are encouraging that and I can assure you that we have a lot of applications from all over the country, not lines of politics no. Everyone is welcome, we are for the Zambians, we are serving every Zambian,” said Mubanga.