President of Zambia urges Bankers Association of Zambia to increase access to affordable finance

ZAMBIA – Bankers Association of Zambia (BAZ), led by their chairperson Mzinga Melu, met with the President of Zambia Hakainde Hichilema to discuss on how to increase access to affordable finance for their citizens.

The President has emphasised on the need for government to work with the private sector in order to save the country’s economy that experienced difficulties, business challenges coupled with the COVID- 19 pandemic.

The President says the economic challenges that the country has faced have been immense and calls for collective duty to find solutions to revive the economy expeditiously.

“The local banking industry is thriving but we must increase access to affordable finance for our people,” President Hichilema said.

The President noted that there is need to also address the pandemic not just from the health point of view but also from the economic point of view as the economic shutdowns that the country has experienced are real.

“We have this discussion with a concept of partnership, the country has gone through great economic difficulties, challenges, business challenges coupled with the coronavirus. Something new to us and we had to grapple with it, how do we deal with it,” he stressed.

The President expressed gratitude that the Bankers Association has shown commitment to working with his administration in revamping the country’s economy.

“We are grateful that the BAZ is alive to the economic challenges the country is facing. We are grateful that you as a sector are involved, the Association is at the top end of the economy so we are grateful for that,” he said.

The Head of State said it is important that all players involved in reviving the economy have a shared objective despite sitting in different offices.

He further emphasised the need to also work with other sectors that are serviced by the financial sector such as mining and agriculture to rebuild the country’s economy.

The President said economic revival for obvious reasons, job and business opportunities will allow us to support health and education.

Meanwhile, Bankers Association of Zambia Chairperson Mzinga Melu assured the President that the Association is part of the economic growth recovery.

Mrs. Melu noted that the last few years have been quite tough for the sector but that at the same time it has been resilient.

She said last year in particular, ended up being one of best years for the sector despite it having a lot of economic hardships.

She stated that in terms of non- performing loans, the loans reduced drastically to the levels of 5.8 percent while as previously they were at 11.8 percent.

Ms. Melu further hailed the President for the positive market sentiments in the economy from the time he entered office.

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