Minister of Trade and Industry Simplex Chithyola Banda has hailed the Financial Inclusion and Entrepreneurship Scaling (FInES) project for increasing access to finance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and providing them with the opportunity to grow.
He said this on Friday in Lilongwe during a tour of micro, small and medium enterprises that received financial support from the World Bank-funded FInES project.
Said Chithyola Banda: “The finances provided to micro, small and medium enterprises have empowered local businesses to do great things.
“The businesses have accessed technology that we normally associate with international businesses.”
He said the loans complement the Malawi 2063, the country’s long-term development plan, to create an inclusively wealthy nation by promoting value addition and industrialisation.
In an interview, HCI Paints managing director Daddy Msasata said the low-interest loans he access through the project have helped him to access better technology and reach out to a wider market.
He said: “The progress is clear in the bottom line. Before I got the loan, I was making about K2 million in sales every month.
“After getting the equipment and accessing a bigger segment of the market, I can make up to K12 million in sales.”
NBS Bank plc head of SMEs banking portfolio Mdauko Ngulube said the low-interest loans offered under the FInES project have created a conducive environment to extend loans to more small businesses.
“One of the problems that was holding back micro, small and medium enterprises was access to low-cost borrowing,” he said.
Currently, commercial loans are hovering over 24 percent, more than double the loans offered under the FInES project.