PSMF good for Diplomats
By Abigail Chaponda in London, United Kingdom
Zambia’s outgoing High Commissioner to the United Kingdom His Excellency Mr. Muyeba Chikonde has applauded government and in particular the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for extending the Public Service Micro-Finance (PSMF) services to Diplomats serving in various Zambian Missions and added that PSMF had the potential to grow its asset portfolio abroad by acquiring housing for diplomatic rental and mop up the foreign exchange used by missions for diplomat’s accommodation.
And High Commissioner Chikonde who is also the outgoing Dean of Zambian Diplomats said Civil Servants serving abroad should take advantage of the Public Service Micro-Finance Company (PSMFC) to acquire affordable loans in order to economically empower themselves and invest in viable projects back home. He further urged the Zambian diplomats to embrace the newly formed Public Service Saving and Credit Cooperative (PS-SACCO) in order to prepare for their future beyond diplomatic service.
“Government and PSMFC should be commended for this initiative because it will economically empower civil servants who are serving both home and abroad. The innovation that comes with this scheme with regards to product variety is remarkable and only goes to accentuate government’s commitment to maintaining a public service that is motivated, innovative, patriotic and delivering beyond expectation; without leaving anyone behind”. he said.
Meanwhile, during a presentation to London Mission Diplomatic staff, PSMFC Chief Executive Officer Mr. Mubanga Mwiko said Diplomats were also civil servants therefore they should not be left behind the PSMFC scheme and thus the reason by PSMFC to roll out the scheme abroad commencing with the London Mission.
And Mr. Mwiko said PSMFC is solely owned by the Zambian Government and is mandated to provide affordable loans and other innovative financial solutions to public service workers including Zambian diplomats serving in different parts of the World.
He explained that the reason why Government established the company was to address the challenges civil servants faced in accessing finances from the conventional banking sector and Micro Finance institutions that normally charge high interest rates.
Mr. Mwiko said PSMFC has signed MOUs with 35 quasi-government institutions who are eligible for the loans and the loans are payroll based at an interest rates as low as five percent.
“We want all civil servants across the width and breadth of the country to benefit from this scheme and this includes all the Zambian Diplomats serving abroad. The PSMFC has partnered with various renowned motor vehicle and equipment dealers in Zambia to enable Public Service workers access brand new motor vehicles including equipment and plant for Agricultural purposes at affordable prices. These loans are paid over a period of 5 years at an interest rate of 18 per cent amortised and we urge diplomats to buy the Motor vehicles through us,” he said.
“President Edgar Chagwa Lungu has said Agriculture is a backbone of the nation, so PSMFC has a loan scheme aimed at providing public service workers access to affordable financing for the acquisition of agricultural assets. These are affordable loans to meet the pockets of public service workers, we have designed all these services to ensure that our public service workers can afford” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mwiko has urged diplomats to buy shares in PS-SACCO. He said the shares in the SACCO remain beneficial even after retirement and in case of a demise of a shareholder, the shares can be transferred to the next of keen.
Mr. Mwiko said membership of the SACCO is voluntary and members are expected to buy a minimum of one thousand five hundred shares valued at three Kwacha per share. He added that the scheme will give public service employees access to cheaper loans without any collateral as the individuals savings will act as collateral.
He further said members, by virtue of owning shares in the SACCO, will also be entitled to a dividend payout (13th cheque) at the end of the year arising from dividends declared.
Mr. Mwiko and representatives from the Ministry of Finance where visiting London to present the opportunities and services offered by the PSMFC and PS-SACCO and also seek input on how the financial products could be rolled out to various missions.