The National Economic Empowerment Fund (Neef) is struggling to collect over K14 billion for distribution to would-be beneficiaries, a senior official has said.
Neef Chief Executive Officer Humphrey Mdyetseni said the fund targeted to collect K34 billion from people that got loans from the institution, but that it is proving to be a tall order to collect all the targeted funds.
He was speaking on the sidelines of an event at which the fund donated K2.5 million to Parents of Disabled Children Association of Malawi (Podcam) Mangochi Chapter.
“Out of the K14 billion, some of the money is within clients’ repayment period while, for a big part of it, the repayment deadline passed.
“We have noted that some people are not interested in paying back loans, as they think that the money is a political gift, which is a wrong way of thinking.
“This money was set aside by the government to support people with business capital. It is expected of such people to pay back the money so that others can benefit from the initiative,” he said.
He dismissed the notion that some people are failing to pay back the loans due to economic challenges besetting Malawi, arguing that other clients are paying back the money under similar conditions.
“When we started enforcing repayment, a lot of clients paid their loans, which gave us the impression that some people are deliberately ignoring the repayment requirement. But we will continue enforcing the repayment strategy we are implementing so that we recover all the money,” he said.
Since its establishment, Mdyetseni said Neef has distributed about K53 billion in loans.
In the Southern Region, Mangochi and Zomba are reported to be the best performers as records indicate that about 80 percent of people are paying back loans.
Commenting on the issue of donation, Mdyetseni said Neef is happy that, through loans it provided to women, lives of children with disabilities are improving.
Mangochi Podcam Chapter Chairperson Mary Time said they would use the funds to promote their children’s welfare.
“We will buy mattresses, food, toys and other necessities for the children,” she said.