Commercial banks ready for SMEs

The Bankers Association of Zambia (BAZ) has said that commercial banks are ready to offer Small and Medium Entrepreneurs with necessary financial and technical support if they present marketable and bankable proposals.

In an interview with Millennium Radio, BAZ Chief Executive Officer Leonard Mwanza said  commercial banks were working towards narrowing the gap of expectation from the SMEs by enhancing the relationship between commercial banks and SMEs.

Mr. Mwanza noted that SME’s had the potential to contribute to the economic and social development of Zambia.

“What we are doing is trying to enhance the relationship between the customers (the SMEs) and banks so that the SMEs managers can evaluate their performance. Good proposals, I must say, attract interest and attract funding.” He said.

Mr. Mwanza said the commercial banks were discussing with other stakeholders in the banking sector to find means of building financial capacity.

“We are looking at how we can build financial capacity, how do we train the SMEs to improve their financial management skills and record keeping management. We want to find means of how the SMEs can produce quality bankable proposals acceptable by a bank,” he said.

He urged the SMEs to build relationships by way of consistence transaction with banks.

But Small Scale Farmers Development Agency Executive Director Boyd Moobwe said lack of financial support in form of loans from lending institution had hindered the growth of SMEs in the agriculture sector.

Mr. Moobwe said it was a challenge for the Small Scale farmers to invest in new technologies in the agriculture sector to enable them to increase production and protect the environment.

He said demands from commercial banks for SMEs to present collateral before accessing loans had posed a huge challenge to small scare farmers.

Mr Moobwe said it was difficult for farmers to meaningfully diversify to grow other cash crops as small scale farmers had limited resources.

He said if the small scale farmers in the agriculture sector were well exploited they have a potential to create employment for the majority population and can contributed positively to the Gross Domestic Product.

Last month during the official opening of the Agriculture and Commercial show, Malawian President Peter Mutharika said there was need to come up with new technologies in the agriculture sector to enable farmers increase production and protect the environment.

Professor Mutharika urged exhibitors against limiting their ideas and innovations but continue to come up with new ideas to improve on their products and services in order to compete effectively.

But Mr. Moobwe noted it would be difficult to achieve this as long as the Small scale farmers did not receive favourable funding.