Presidential Empowerment Initiative Patron Chanda Kabwe says K10.4 million has been used to empower over 7,000 marketeers so far; both in cash and in assets form.

Speaking when he featured on the PF Interactive Forum in Kabwe yesterday, Kabwe, who is also Central Province Permanent Secretary, disclosed that a total number of 34 districts had benefited from the Presidential Empowerment Initiative.

Kabwe said the funds were coming from the first family which was contributing 10 per cent of their earnings every month.

“Initially in 2015, the project was to be for only three markets on the Copperbelt as a pilot project. The markets were Kitwe’s Chisokone, Chingola’s Chiwempala, and Chisokone in Ndola. These were the three markets we started with, but because the demand was huge, we went back to His Excellency and told him the demand was huge, people in the informal sector are looking for this empowerment. What can we do? Then with his authority he said we need to move across the country and identify the needs of the people and we empower them,” Kabwe said.

“So from 2015 until today, we have empowered over 7,000 marketeers, we have spent K10.4 million in cash form and in asset form. Because we have identified the needs of marketeers, some marketeers were looking for monies, others were looking for tools to use in order for them to grow their business. A total number of 34 districts have benefited from the Presidential empowerment funds and all this is coming from the contribution of the first family who are contributing every month 10 percent towards the empowerment.”

Kabwe said the initiative was non-political and challenged those who were suspecting that the project was using government resources to come out in the open and expose him.

“The Presidential Empowerment Initiative is a non-political initiative. We have not used not even a single Ngwee from government and I challenge anyone who has the information that we are using government monies to empower the people in the informal sector to expose us. I want to assure you my dear colleagues and the nation that we are not using government resources,” he said.

He revealed that 500 people on the Copperbelt had been empowered with airtime vending machines.

“In 2015, we procured 500 units MTN vendor machines, those machines for air-time at the cost of K1,200,080, we gave them out to the vendors in order for them to be selling airtime, and that is an empowerment. Plus we gave them airtime worth K500 each at the total cost of K250,000 so as am talking to you, 500 vendors and marketeers were empowered with these machines on the Copperbelt, you can go and verify for yourself,” Kabwe said.

“We moved on to also helping miners. You are aware that when the copper prices dropped, the presidential initiative came at play. We organized trainings for our brothers and sisters who lost employment in the mining industry. 3,000 miners were trained in various skills . We gave them hope that losing employment in the mining industry was not the end of the world. And we spent monies on human resource to train these miners.”

Kabwe also said bus drivers and taxi drivers had also benefitted from the initiative.

“Again we empowered the bus drivers with the fuel scheme and vehicles, in Lusaka we opened the fuel scheme at the cost of K100,000 for the buses and taxi drivers in Lusaka. We also opened another one in Ndola at the cost of K100,000 in 2016. We also procured vehicles for the taxi drivers and bus drivers in Chingola, in Ndola and in Kasama. We encouraged them to open driving schools so that they can generate more income. And this was at the cost of K486,000,” Kabwe said.

“So we empowered 3,000 people across the country with bicycles valued at K1.8 million. We empowered people with motor bikes where 180 people benefited from the motor bikes because their biggest need was transport for doing business but the cost of doing business was very high. So 180 people were given motor bikes at the cost of K2,150,000 and these are paying. We gave them to pay for a period of five years. They are paying back K50 per month.”

He further revealed total of K813,000 was spent on people with special needs in Ndola.

“On the Copperbelt, in Ndola, a total of K813,000 was released with a special attention to the people with [special] needs. In 2016, we released K29,300 for the people of Luansya. In end of 2016, we released K300,000 in Luanshya for infrastructure development where we are putting up two toilet facilities, Bisenge and Baluba. This year in Luanshya, again we have released K250,000. Our coordinator Mr Clement Tembo was in Luanshya to launch the empowerment of K250,000 in Luanshya,” Kabwe said.
“In Chingola, K503,000 was given in 2016 to marketeers and vendors plus two vehicles were given taxis and bus drivers association of Zambia valued at K62 thousand. In Kitwe in 2015 to 2016, we gave out K886,501 to over 500 marketeers and vendors. Plus His Excellency gave us to give Chisokone market a further K250,000 for the market shelter and His Excellency commissioned the shelter.”

Meanwhile Kabwe said the main targets for the Initiative were female headed households, child headed households, the elderly, and people with special needs.

“In Mongu Western province, we gave out K318,000 to the marketeers. In Mansa Luapula province, we gave K243,000 for the marketeers and vendors. In Petauke Eastern province, we gave K546,000 for both vendors and marketeers. In Solwezi North Western province, we gave out K266,000 for both vendors and marketeers. In Senanga, we gave out K86,000, in Kalomo we gave out K54,000, in Kasama we gave out K511,000 and here in Kabwe we gave out K10,000 to the people with special needs. These are some of the districts that have benefited from the presidential empowerment,” said Kabwe.

“Our targets where female headed households, child headed households and people with special needs or people with disabilities, and the elderly people. Especially the people in the rural areas who have no access to financial aid.”

Meanwhile, Chanda gave nine marketeers a grant of K400 each at the interactive forum.