THE Public Service Micro Finance Company (PSMFC) and Zesco Limited have signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding that will enable all Zesco staff to access PSMFC loan schemes.

PSMFC chief executive officer Mubanga Mwiko says the company has MOUs with 43 quasi-government and parastatal institutions and that Zesco becomes the 44th institution to join.

And Zesco managing director Victor Mapani has described the signing of the MoU as a landmark occasion, saying it will enable Zesco employees to access financial solutions from PSMFC for the first time.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, Wednesday, Mwiko said the MOU would enable Zesco employees to access cash loans of up to K150,000 recoverable in six months.

“Today is an important day in the life of PSMFC as we sign this Memorandum of Understanding with Zesco, one of the biggest employers in Zambia. The MOU also enables Zesco employees to access cash loans of up to K150,000.00 recoverable in six months. This MOU signed today enables all employees of Zesco from yourself MD to the junior-most to access our products. This partnership will enable Zesco to focus its effort and financial resources on its core mandate of generation and distribution of electricity while we attend to the loan requirements of its staff,” he said.

“We have MOUs with 43 quasi-government and parastatal institutions, Zesco is the 44th. We have to date disbursed a total of K1.4 billion to 16,000 public service workers in all the 113 districts with a total of K309 million used to finance 1,101 motor vehicles. The products available to Zesco employees include motor vehicle loans, agricultural assets loans, building materials loans, furniture loans, and ICT equipment loans, all financed from accredited dealers. Motor vehicles under the scheme are financed duty waived (that is duty free). I am confident this relationship will be mutually beneficial to both Institutions, will improve the livelihoods of your staff and will contribute to industrial harmony in Zesco.”

Mwiko also appealed to Zesco to appoint focal point persons and establish channels of getting application forms from the districts through to its headquarters, then to PSMFC.

“I would like to request you to appoint focal point persons and establish channels of getting application forms from the districts through to your HQ to us. This will enable us serve you efficiently without your staff leaving their stations to follow up loan applications,” he said.

Speaking at the same event Mapani described the signing of the MoU as a landmark occasion.

“The signing today of the Memorandum of Understanding between Zesco Limited and the Public Service Micro Finance Company (PSMFC) is a landmark occasion enabling for the first time Zesco employees access financial solutions from PSMFC. On behalf of Zesco, I extend special gratitude to PSMFC for coming through to sign the 5-year MoU with Zesco to form a strategic partnership offering Zesco employees affordable loans and other financial solutions like motor vehicle asset finance, household furniture, building materials and agricultural asset scheme loans,” he said.

Mapani said Zesco employees, just like most public service workers, had not been exempted from challenges associated with high cost of borrowing, adding that the agreement was a timely intervention.

“ Zesco employees just like most public service workers have not been immune to the challenges associated with the relatively high cost of borrowing thereby making this agreement a timely intervention. This milestone is further timely as it comes barely three days after the commemoration of the 2022 Labour Day whose theme espoused the need to accelerate social-economic transformation through sustainable and decent job creation amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The strategic partnership is invaluable to Zesco and its employees on several fronts: Access to affordable finance which enables every worker to timely acquire assets that will help them lead decent lifestyles, way past the working life is a sustainable way of ensuring social-economic transformation. Access to a diverse financing portfolio skewed towards asset acquisition is supportive of a mind-set shift from consumption to investment orientation,” he said.

“Whereas Zesco had before only made available to a selected tier of staff motor vehicles acquired and maintained by the corporation, now all of its employees meeting the set criteria will have access to relatively affordable vehicle asset finance thereby promoting inclusiveness and fair access to the benefits of employment. Enabling employees access among others vehicle asset finance has financial benefits for the business as it is likely to positively impact the corporation’s operational costs, ultimately passing the benefits to the customer.”

He urged Zesco staff to take advantage of the loan scheme under PSMFC.

“I take this opportunity to call upon all Zesco employees to take advantage of this agreement to acquire affordable financing supportive of their long-term investment plans. I urge the Zesco HR team to enhance financial literacy among employees to ensure that the finances acquired will be put to good use. I am positive that that is an area for possible collaboration with PSMFC that can be explored,” said Mapani.