Presidential Empowerment Scheme patron Chanda Kabwe says it is regrettable that people who obtained loans from President Edgar Lungu’s Presidential Initiative Fund are not paying back the money.

And Kabwe says people claiming that the Presidential initiative fund was a gimmick by the PF to bribe voters, are enemies of progress.

In a statement yesterday, Chanda said the initiative was still active and that it was targeting about 19,000 beneficiaries across the country this year, despite suffering non-repayment of the loans.

“We have a challenge, the demand is greater than what we have in the account. This is mainly because people are not paying back their loans, which should not be the case because this is not a charitable organization,” Kabwe said.

“Those beneficiaries are supposed to be repaying the loans when they are given to them.”

Kabwe, who is also Central Province permanent secretary, however condemned critics of the initiative.

“For me, I can say those who are criticising and calling the initiative names can go ahead and call it whatever they want, we wont be deterred by you. We are focused and this year we are targeting about 19, 000 beneficiaries across the country. Eyes on the ball, our aim is to develop the people and there is no politics. We are here to work for the people. So we will leave politics for politicians and in fact, those politicians will start doing their politics in 2021 and not now, us we will focus on developing the cadres in the informal sector,” said Kabwe.

“The elections are in 2021, so I don’t understand how this could still be a campaign gimmick. Those saying it’s a campaign gimmick are just enemies of development, they don’t know the suffering of the people.”