Members of Parliament (MPs) have called on Government to recapitalise the Zambia National Savings and Credit Bank (NATSAVE) to enable more small-scale farmers in remote constituencies have access to empowerment funds.
Msanzala Patriotic Front (MP) Peter Daka said NATSAVE was an important financial institution especially in the area of empowering farmers, but its current status of operation was not as effective as expected.
Mr Daka said this when Bank of Zambia (BoZ) deputy governor-operations Bwalya Ng'andu appeared on Wednesday before a Parliamentary Expanded Budget Committee on Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the financial year ending December, 2018.
The lawmaker had earlier asked Dr Ng'andu what the Central Bank was doing to improve NATSAVE operations because majority of the farmers relied on it.
"NATSAVE is an important Government financial institution, but its current status needs recapitalisation to help those people, particularly farmers, in rural areas access more facilities like loans and farming equipment, "Mr Daka said.
Mr Daka said the bank should be empowered to deliver on its mandate of reaching out to the un-banked population citing remote areas especially in the newly created districts.
Committee chairperson Mwalimu Simfukwe wondered whether BoZ was engaging Government to ensure NATSAVE's operations were improved.
Dr Ng'andu, however, informed the committee that BoZ was already engaging Government through the ministry of Finance on the possibilities of recapitalising NATSAVE.
The deputy governor admitted that the bank required more capital injection in its operations.
He said he was confident the recapitalisation process could be expedited by Government, a move that could empower it to open more branches across the country.
On Kanchibiya PF MP Martin Malama, who bemoaned tax compliance among business entities, Dr Ng'andu challenged lawmakers to help enact stiffer laws to deal with offenders.
He also told the committee that BoZ welcomed plans to change composition of Government bonds and Treasury Bills and lengthen the maturity profile of Government securities.