Govt se­cures $7,6m loan for poverty al­le­vi­a­tion project

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Bianca Mlilo

THE Gov­ern­ment has se­cured a $7,6 mil­lion loan fa­cil­ity from the OPEC Fund for In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment (OFID) to sup­port the poverty al­le­vi­a­tion project, a Cabi­net Min­is­ter has said.

Fi­nance and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Pa­trick Chi­na­masa pre­sented the modal­i­ties of the loan for de­bate in Par­lia­ment on Tues­day where he re­ported that the sup­port project was ear­marked to com­mence in Jan­uary 2017 and that it would be im­ple­mented over a pe­riod of four years.

“The loan was sourced at a con­ces­sional in­ter­est rate of 1,5 per­cent per an­num, with ten­ure of 20 years com­pris­ing a five-year grace pe­riod and 15 years bi-an­nual re­pay­ments,” he said.

“The ob­jec­tive of the project is to im­prove ac­cess by ben­e­fi­ciary households to en­hanced so­cio-eco­nomic ser­vices and in­come gen­er­at­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

The min­is­ter said live­stock de­vel­op­ment, drilling of com­mu­nity bore­holes, value ad­di­tion of lo­cally avail­able fruits, honey pro­duc­tion and pro­cess­ing and fish farm­ing are some of the pro­grammes that will be taken up un­der the pro­gramme.

Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa said the ini­tia­tive would also cater for ca­pac­ity of per­son­nel and up­grad­ing of equip­ment for three iden­ti­fied en­trepreneur­ship train­ing in­sti­tutes.

The ben­e­fi­cia­ries to this fa­cil­ity would be iden­ti­fied as ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, households, en­trepreneurs, train­ing in­sti­tu­tions co­op­er­a­tives.

They would have to be from the prov­inces of Masvingo, Man­i­ca­land and Mata­bele­land North.

“The fi­nanc­ing of the project is $8,3 mil­lion, with OFID con­tribut­ing a loan fa­cil­ity of $7,6 mil­lion while Gov­ern­ment will pro­vide counter-fund­ing of $700 000,” said Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa.

“The loan will be ser­viced from funds de­posited by ben­e­fi­cia­ries into a re­volv­ing fund. The fund will be ad­min­is­tered by the Min­istry of Small and Medium En­ter­prises and Co­op­er­a­tive De­vel­op­ment (SMECD) to en­sure that Gov­ern­ment is able to hon­our its re­pay­ment obli­ga­tions to OFID.”

The ex­e­cut­ing agent re­spon­si­ble for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the project is the Min­istry of SMECD whose man­date will be to over­see the daily ac­tiv­i­ties of the project.

The poverty al­le­vi­a­tion project is a di­rect trans­la­tion of the coun­try’s eco­nomic blue-print the Zim-As­set, which seeks to erad­i­cate poverty through value ad­di­tion of abun­dant lo­cal re­sources.

In Septem­ber the Gov­ern­ment launched the In­terim Poverty Re­duc­tion Pa­per (I-PRSP), which re­quires $2,7 bil­lion to im­ple­ment in the pe­riod 2016 to 2018.

The strat­egy pa­per is an­chored on seven pil­lars that in­clude agri­cul­ture pro­duc­tiv­ity, so­cial sec­tors, pri­vate sec­tor, in­fras­truc­ture sec­tor, en­vi­ron­ment and cli­mate change, gen­der women and youth de­vel­op­ment and strength­en­ing gov­er­nance.

It seeks to erad­i­cate poverty and en­sures in­clu­sive and sav­ings and credit growth and im­prove­ment in the liveli­hoods of ci­ti­zens.

The Gov­ern­ment and de­vel­op­ment or­gan­i­sa­tions have se­cured $800 mil­lion so far for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the I-PRSP, leav­ing a fund­ing gap of $1,9 bil­lion. — @Bian­caMlilo

Min­is­ter Pa­trick Chi­na­masa

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