COMPANIES in manufacturing and tourism industries will be the first beneficiaries of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s $350 million facilities for entrepreneurs due to severe foreign payment backlogs and foreign currency generation capacity.
The manufacturing entities will get $10 million under a business linkage facility while tourism will receive support from $15 million tourism support facility.
This comes as the central bank is making concerted efforts to whittle down the foreign payment backlog and boost productivity in the manufacturing industry to enable it to generate increased export earnings and create more jobs in the sector.
Homelink sales and channels manager Sibusisiwe Mashoko said, “We have begun the release of funding under the $10 million business linkage facility to help some companies in the manufacturing sector. We are looking entities which want to improve their capacity, export and those which have foreign payments backlogs accrued through buying ritical raw materials.
“We hope that facility will be go a long way in improving small companies that are into manufacturing so that they can grow into big entities that can export bulk goods to earn foreign currency for the country.”
The Reserve Bank loan facilities are meant to meet financing needs of mostly previously marginalised, but productive companies.
Ms Mashoko said the tourism industry was also likely to be first to benefit due to its nature as a low hanging fruit in terms forex generation.
“Many tourism players are keen to expand their packages and they can access $15 million tourism support facility to improve their suites. Various safari lodges, casinos and other small players can utilise this facility to enhance the sector.
“The sector is important in earning the country foreign currency in that many foreign tourists bring in hard currency, especially, during the holidays,” she said.
Last week, RBZ has availed more than $350 million in loans towards capacitation of entrepreneurs across the country.
The funding is available to every Zimbabwean company across a total of 11 sectors, as part of fostering inclusivity in the economy.
Officiating at a Women Entrepreneurship Development Trust (WEDT) training programme in Gwanda last week RBZ deputy governor, Dr Jesimeni Chipika said: “I am also pleased to say that in addition to the MSMEs funding opportunities being offered by Homelink, there are other facilities, which the Reserve Bank has put in place to cater for the business financing needs of previously marginalised groups.”.
She said the RBZ was aware of the tough business conditions facing the country hence the move to assist budding entrepreneurs with loans.
The loan facilities include Women Empowerment Fund ($15 million), business linkage facility ($10 million), microfinance revolving facility of ($10 million), tourism support facility ($15 million), gold support facility of ($150 million), cross border facility ($15 million), tobacco export finance facility ($70 million), horticulture facility ($10 million), youth empowerment fund ($10 million), soya beans facility ($21,51 million) and the $5 million facility for persons with disability.