By Duncan Mlanjira
The Ministry of Finance says the Malawi Enterprise Development Fund (MEDF) has rebranded to National Economic Empowerment Fund (NEEF) Limited and is ready to start disbursing loans soon to all illegible Malawians using new loan application forms that will be distributed free of charge.
A statement from the Secretary to the Treasury, Chauncy Simwaka says this follows the announcement made by Finance Minister Felix Mlusu during his presentation of the 2020/21 Budget Statement in Parliament in line with the aspirations of the new government towards economically empowering people.
Simwaka informs the NEEF employees that they will not be affected much on the rebranding process as their conditions of employment remain unchanged.
“The company will continue providing micro finance services to all Malawians who wish to set up small businesses or expand their existing businesses in the country,” says the statement.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government used MEDF as a campaign tool towards the fresh presidential election as of March this year, it disbursed over K4 billion to 17, 831 groups spread across the country as of June.
Former President Peter Mutharika launched the MEDF youth and women loan programme at K13 billion in March in efforts to assist in achieving community development, minimizing wealth inequalities and thereby help in improving lives of Malawians.
He had said at the launch in Blantyre then that the country can only achieve its vision if the youth and women are empowered to be drivers of change.
He had taken cognizance that there are many young people and women who graduate from community technical colleges in order to establish new businesses and industries but they need capital.
In his 2020/21 Budget Statement in Parliament earlier this month, Finance Minister Mlusu had said in the Provisional Budget, the allocation to the Women and Youth Loan Program under the Malawi Enterprise Development Fund was increased from K15 billion to K40 billion.
He had said the amount will gradually be increased to K75 billion and meanwhile, Government instituted a financial audit and was in the process of reviewing MEDF’s operational models and procedures, which it has now done through the total rebranding, including change of name of this very important institution.
With the increased allocation to MEDF, Mlusu pledged that Government is expected to support the creation of 200,000 enterprises to be run by the youth and women.
“These enterprises in turn are expected to create over 600,000 jobs which will result in an increased tax base and improved welfare of our people,” he had said.