The season of getting loans from Government and not pay back the money is over, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said last Friday.
The President said this while officiating at the rebranding of the government owned Agricultural Development Bank of Zimbabwe, popularly known as Agribank, now renamed Agricultural Finance Corporation of Zimbabwe Holdings (AFC Holdings).
The new entity, has four subsidiaries, which are a land bank, commercial bank, insurance arm and a leasing company.
“Farmers are urged to develop a stronger culture of honouring their financial obligations,” President Mnangagwa said. “Time is past where people used to benefit from government funded programmes and not pay back, that is now in the past, we will come after you.”
Government has in the past written off or assumed billions worth of debt after farmers benefitted from finance initiatives targeted mainly at supporting beneficiaries of the land reform programmes but failed to pay back the loans.
President Mnangagwa said AFC must come up with “robust mechanisms to ensure repayment and recovery of loans.”
“It is my expectation that productivity and not one’s name, will be the basis of accessing financing through AFC subsidiary companies. Corruption will not be tolerated,” he said.
Establishment of the corporation, he said, was meant to propel the on-going agricultural revolution, that had seen the country break production records in the current harvesting period.
The land bank, he said, must focus on provision of long-term financing for farmers.“Now that the irreversible land reform programme is behind us, focus must be on production, productivity, profitability of the agriculture sector,” President Mnangagwa said.
Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka said launch of AFC Holdings marked a “historic day, starting a new epoch, redefining agricultural financing and development.
“This is an integral part of an agriculture and food systems transformation strategy,” he said.- New Ziana