Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
ABOUT $7.6 million loan facility under the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund for International Development will be disbursed through the Savings and Credit Co-operatives to ensure accountability.
Small to Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni said this in an interview with Business Chronicle yesterday.
In July, Small to Medium Enterprise and Co-operative Development Minister Nyoni availed the $7.6 million OPEC funding to support poverty alleviation projects in the country’s three poorest provinces.
According to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) latest poverty atlas, Matabeleland North, Masvingo and Manicaland are the country’s major poverty stricken regions.
“A team of my officers are on the ground as we speak urging the intended beneficiaries in each of the targeted provinces to form Savings and Credit Co-operatives (SACCOs).
“The funds will be disbursed only to rural projects through SACCOs to ensure accountability and reduce defaulting by the beneficiaries,” said Minister Nyoni.
She said the process to disburse the funding was already underway starting with the formation of SACCOs.
“Last week officials from my ministry were in Matabeleland North and this week they are in Masvingo encouraging the potential beneficiaries to form SACCOs so that they benefit from the fund,” said Minister Nyoni.
Once the SACCOs are established each of the three provinces’ seven districts would receive $285 000.
SACCOs will get loans of up to $10 000 paid back at 10 percent interest.
Livestock development projects can access up to a maximum of $50 000 but interest rate remains 10 percent.
Entrepreneurs with projects aimed at optimising local resources, can also access up to a maximum of $50 000 at 10 percent per annum interest rate.
The loans for all the projects that can be funded under the facility is payable over a year.
Minister Nyoni is on record saying the Government recognises the critical role played by the Small and Medium Enterprises and Co-operatives in addressing the issues of poverty reduction, job creation and income generation.
In this light, she said her ministry successfully lobbied for a $7.6 million OPEC Fund to benefit locals.