UPND Leader Hakainde Hichilema says the decision by the Bank of Zambia to raise the base lending rate from 12.5% to 15.5% has now completely killed the middle class that has been emerging from 2002 onwards.
He says the move presents yet another hurdle for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in growing their businesses, considering that Small and Medium-sized Enterprises are the lifeblood of an economy anywhere in the world.HH2
Mr. Hichilema states that as Zambia’s population expands, there is need to support local businesses and entrepreneurs to flourish and catalyse job creation and economic diversification so that the country can move towards a sustainable growth model in which every Zambian has the opportunity to succeed and make a decent living.
He says what is even more worrying is that the interest rate cap has been removed,stating that soon, banks will start charging 50% interest rates.
Mr. Hichilema says Zambia’s business environment is no longer conducive to doing business and that the next thing that will happen is that new investments will not be forthcoming.
He states that without new investments and the existing investments being constricted by loan obligations, people will lose jobs.
Mr. Hichilema says Government needs to recognise the burden of these challenges and move assertively and confidently to resurrect confidence in its ability to plan and manage the economy.
He says this means clear and concrete communications between State House and the public so that information is shared on how long these circumstances can be expected to persist and how the Government is working to relieve the burden on business.