Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Manicaland Bureau
Government has approved the disbursement of loans worth $75 000 to two small and medium enterprises in Mutare District under the Zimbabwe Poverty Alleviation Project (2017-2020).
The project, which falls under the $7,6 million Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) Fund for International Development, is aimed at supporting poverty alleviation projects in the country’s three major poverty-stricken provinces: Matabeleland North, Masvingo and Manicaland.
Manicaland received $300 000 to support livestock development projects, optimisation of local resource endowments, financing Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOS) in income-generating projects as well as setting up of entrepreneurial training institutes.
The fourth quarter Manicaland Provincial Development Committee report indicated that two SME projects had so far been approved for funding and the assessment and appraisal of other shortlisted projects is still underway.
“The project has resulted in improved access to finance for livestock production businesses, SACCOS and other value addition projects in rural communities,” the report reads.
“There has also been improved household incomes through livestock production as well as growth of value addition income-generating activities (IGAs).”
The report noted that there had been improved utilisation of local resource endowments in communities for poverty reduction and improved business management skills through entrepreneurship training since the launch of the project in the province.
The appraisal committee had reported that most applicants had submitted non-viable or non-satisfactory projects. The committee was still working on the second batch of applications which was now 80 percent complete. Beneficiaries of the loan facility were chosen based on competitiveness and viability of their project proposals, with priority being given to projects that had ripple effects in alleviating poverty in the community. SACCOs were receiving support for cash amounting to a maximum of $10 000, with a 10 percent interest rate per annum.
Livestock development projects could access up to a maximum of $50 000, attracting interest rate of 10 percent. Entrepreneurs with projects aimed at optimising local resources endowments could also access up to a maximum of $50 000 at 10 percent per annum interest rate.