The National Economic Empowerment Fund Limited (NEEF) on Friday engaged Traditional Chiefs, Members of Parliament, and Ward Councilors from Blantyre Rural on the loans that the Fund has disbursed in their areas. The meeting which was held at Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre sensitized the stakeholders on how NEEF operates in their areas and the performance of their areas in the loans.
Making a presentation on the status of the loans in Blantyre Rural, NEEF Chief Executive Officer, Humphrey Mdyetseni lamented the politicization of the loans in previous regimes as having contributed to the poor performance of loans and high defaults rates that the Fund is currently struggling to recover.
As one of the objectives of the meeting was to report the performances of the different constituencies of Blantyre, Mdyetseni disclosed that the Fund had disbursed K34 billion across all districts as of May 2022.
“The collection rate of these loans stands at 62% below our target of 80%. Inspite of these, Blantyre and Neno in the Southern Region are performing well in collections and this is the feat we want the other districts in Southern to emulate,” said Mdyetseni.
He further disclosed that only constituencies that achieve a collection rate of above 60% are legible for disbursements in 2022 and justified the move as aiming to boost collections and disburse funds in constituencies whose people are willing to repay the loans.
Mdyetseni took advantage of the gathering to highlight some challenges that NEEF is facing which range from infiltration of fraudsters in the loan disbursement process that are duping unsuspecting Malawians to intimidation of loan officers by delinquent clients.
He implored the chiefs to keep a keen eye on the conmen that masquerade as NEEF agents and ensure that they don’t find havens in their areas. He also asked the chiefs to take part in protecting the loan officers from delinquent clients that resort to intimidation when visited for loan recoveries.
Member of Parliament for Blantyre West who has present at the interface Honorable Isaac Kaneka lamented the politicization of projects and asked NEEF to maintain professionalism in the loan disbursements so that staff doesn’t fall into the trap of fraud and corruption.
“The loans are making an impact in the lives of many poor Malawians and therefore, NEEF must continue training people in business management skills so that they can fully and impactfully utilize the loans that they get,” said Kaneka.
Speaking on behalf of all traditional chiefs that were present, Senior Chief Kapeni applauded the loans initiative and pledged his support to the Fund in raising awareness of the loans among his subjects.
Among the stakeholders present at the meeting were Member of Parliament for Blantyre West Isaac Kaneka, Blantyre South West Member of Parliament Kennedy Kachingwe, Senior Chief Kapena, Traditional Authority Makata, Traditional Authority Nsomba, Traditional Authority Kuntaja, Traditional Authority Lundu, Traditional Authority Kunthembwe and Councilors from Blantyre Rural.