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No miracle money! …HH asks Zambians to work hard, urges banks to cut interest rates

President Hakainde Hichilema has implored Zambians to embrace the culture of hard work and stop believing in get rich quick miracle money schemes because it is a fallacy.

President Hichilema reiterated his appeal to Zambians to work hard instead of going to witch finders and prayer sessions for miracle money.

The President said this when he officially opened the Indo-Zambia Bank (IZB)’s multi-million-dollar ultramodern corporate head office in Lusaka yesterday.

“Fellow citizens, nothing happens by chance. The master of ceremonies was talking about citizens of Zambia developing a love to go to witch finders and prayer sessions for miracle money. There is no miracle money! I do not agree with miracle money myself. We have to work diligently,” he said.

President Hichilema also urged commercial banks and other financial lending institutions to consider reducing their loan interest rates to enable more Zambians to afford to borrow.

President Hichilema also urged the borrowers to develop a culture of paying back and investing the funds in income generating ventures and not on consumption.

“I am taking this opportunity to speak to citizens, don’t complain about Indo-Zambia Bank making a profit, sit down with the bank, access capital and I ask the bank, please come we work on reducing the cost of capital, lending.

“Central Bank Governor (Denny Kalyalya), can we have a sit-down with our commercial banks, Indo- Zambia and others, to look at how we can begin to work together. As we provide macro stability, can we look at passing that benefit to the customers by lowering the ticket time so that we can lend to more,” President Hichilema said.

Mr Hichilema said he was aware that Zambia had a lot of entrepreneurs but that they needed a fairly-priced cost of capital.

Mr Hichilema was optimistic that if more SMES or entrepreneurs accessed funds from banks and lending institutions at affordable rates, they would supplement the Government’s efforts in creating jobs and also contribute to economic growth.

“But also a message to our business people, back to what I said, when you access capital, don’t buy luxuries, don’t buy VXs. You have just started business and you want to show off. I don’t know who you are showing off to. You want to buy a VX, you want a Bima (BMW).

“A young guy hasn’t worked and you hear the social media buzz is about a Bima. What is that, sir? Wrong attitude,” Mr Hichilema said.

He urged those that borrowed money to ensure that they paid back so that the lending institutions could grow and offer them more credit, but at a fair price.

President Hichilema, however, said there were so many inefficiencies in Zambia’s economy because of wastage and the appetite for consumption.

“I wear white shirts, blue shirts and I see on social media that ‘the President is wearing the same shirt everyday. No. I change but it’s a white shirt. But where is that conversation coming from? They want to see the President looking very luxurious. There is a problem,” he said.

President Hichilema commended IZB for combining forces of both Zambians and Indians, which had contributed to its growth trajectory because it was benefiting from different ethics and behaviours.

Mr Hichilema urged the Industrial Development Corporation not to consume money once it established businesses but that it should be invested for a return and growth so that they could be weaned off from taxpayers.

IZB Managing Director Kowidichar Shashidhar was hopeful that the corporate head office would end up shaping the bank into an even more astute, efficient and iconic institution.

Mr Shashidhar said as one of the leading banks in Zambia, IZB had in the last 39 years of its existence in the country made significant contributions in supporting growth and development of the host nation.

IZB Board Chairperson Michael Gondwe said the bank had been growing from strength to strength since it opened its first branch in Lusaka in 1984, with an impressive financial performance over the years, yielding average returns of 19 per cent over the last five years.

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