The Parliamentary Committee on Social and Community Affairs visited National Economic Empowerment Fund Limited (NEEF) clients in Phalombe, Mulanje, and Blantyre as a way of assessing the impact of the loans on people’s lives.
On Wednesday, the committee led by its chairperson Honorable Sarvel Kafwafwa visited four groups from Phalombe at Phalombe Secondary school before meeting other four groups from Mulanje at Chisitu.
On Thursday, the committee visited and met with four groups from Blantyre at Lirangwe.
Speaking to the media, Kafwafwa said the meetings are crucial as they will enable his committee to understand the loan process, challenges, and impact.
“The loans are changing people’s lives but at the same time, the youths, women, and men that accessed the loans have cited some challenges in the loan application process that need to be looked at.
“They have asked for a reduction in the rates, an increase in the repayment period, and an increase in the loan amount. The committee has asked NEEF to look into these issues,” said Kafwafwa.
During the tour, it has transpired that women’s loans are the ones that are performing well in repayments, and Member of Parliament for Machinga South East, Honorable Fyness Magonjwa challenged the youth to be repaying the loans once they access them.
“It is pity that youth and men rank so low in repayments and some of the excuses for not repaying that we have heard on this tour are not convincing.
“This Fund has the potential to transform lives and as such, the last thing we can afford is to let it go dry by not repaying the loans. Future generations will need to tap from NEEF and for it to be sustained youth need to emulate the repayment example that women continue to set,” said Magonjwa.
One of the NEEF Board Members who led the MP on the tour, Dr. Ronald Chanthunya affirmed that the Fund will do anything possible to ensure that the loans are accessible to ordinary and underserved Malawians by reviewing all loan conditions if necessary.
“The board is here to give proper policy direction to the Fund and as such, I have challenged NEEF loan officers to discharge their duties with diligence. We will take appropriate disciplinary measures against any loan officers that bring the Fund into disrepute by indulging in fraud and taking advantage of poor Malawians,” said Chanthunya.
Since starting disbursements in February 2021, NEEF has disbursed K34 Billion to people in all districts across the country and the collection rate stands at 60% with women’s loans being the best performing loans unlike men’s and youth loans.