By Patrick Ndawala & Haneeph Maulana, MANA
Since March this year, the Malawi Enterprise Development Fund (MEDF) has disbursed over K4 billion to 17, 831 groups spread across the country.
MEDF Board member, Nicholas Namalija disclosed this on Saturday at Mbenjere Secondary School grounds in Machinga when Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Dr. Ben Phiri presided over the cheque presentation ceremony to Nayuchi and Ntanja women vendors.
“Our plan was to create 10,000 groups but within the past three months, we have surpassed the number by over 7,000. This only speaks volumes of what MEDF is doing to communities,” Namalija said.
He said MEDF has reached out to 6,500 women groups, 3,100 youth groups and 1,372 individual beneficiaries, noting that beneficiaries are from 27 districts of the country except Likoma.
However, he assured that very soon the financial lending institution will provide loans to people of Likoma Island.
He observed that most of the beneficiaries are women groups and encouraged other people to do likewise in order to be considered.
Namalija said MEDF loans are for every Malawian regardless of one’s political, tribal or religious affiliation, saying: “It is unfortunate to associate MEDF with any political grouping.
“We give loans to any Malawian. In fact, our principles are not attached to any political, religious or tribal grouping.
“We only ask applicants to show us their National Identity for easy follow up. We make sure that we give loans to those we have adequately trained in business management,” he added.
In his remarks, Senior Chief Liwonde said he was grateful to have some of his subjects benefitting from MEDF loan scheme.
However, he advised the beneficiaries to put the money to good use, saying he would be monitoring their progress.
“We want them to do well so that others can be encouraged to get a loan from MEDF. If they don’t use the money accordingly then the goal of government of seeing its people becoming financially independent will not be realised,” Liwonde said.
Chairperson for Nayuchi women group, Eliza Chilonga thanked MEDF for supporting them with K2.6 million worth of loans.
She said: “26 out of 32 members have benefited from MEDF loans. We are really very grateful because it has also increased the group’s income base.”
Chilonga said they plan to turn into a cooperative so that they trade with reliable and bigger markets and are currently trading into relatively high scale businesses such as welding and carpentry.