Government has advised beneficiaries of the village banking programme to be strategic in investing the money so that it can help them to deal with economic challenges that will come with the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chipata District Administrative officer (DAO) Kapembwa Sikazwe said this when he witnessed the disbursement of K200,000 to 200 beneficiaries drawn from five sub centers in the district.

He said beneficiaries should ensure that village bank empowerment money is used to sustain their lives especially now that the economy is being affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr. Sikazwe said the K1, 000 each beneficiary has received should be treated as seed money so that it grows the various businesses which the beneficiaries are venturing into.

“Consider yourselves lucky to be benefitting from this programme because a lot other people wish they too could benefit but government cannot reach everyone at once. It is for this reason that you are expected to put the money to good use and pay back so that other can also benefit,” he said.

He added that government is committed to improving the lives of its people hence implementing various social security programmes such as village banking.

Meanwhile, Chipata District Community Development Officer Jaqueline Chalapuka said a lot of women have been empowered from the time government introduced the village banking programme in the district.

Ms. Chalapuka said women have embraced the idea of saving as they run their various businesses, a move that has enabled them to expand their businesses.

She said the disbursement of the K200, 000 marks the start of a cycle that is ending in June this year, and beneficiaries are expected to pay back the money weekly for a period of six months.

“This money is a loan, so beneficiaries are expected to be paying back in weekly instalments for a period of six months. So we urge beneficiaries to ensure they do not default on repayments so that we continue extending this help to others,” she explained.

And one of the beneficiaries from Mchini compound, Rebecca Nkhoma said she has managed to build a house from the empowerment she has been receiving.

She said she first joined the programme in 2015 and has managed to build a house that generates K850.00 per month in rent money.

“I am now a landlord and my life has transformed for the better, all thanks to government,” she said.

She has therefore urged her fellow women to take the programme seriously and rightfully invest if they are to reap benefits.

“Village banking should be taken seriously. The money might seem like it is not enough but the key is in investing. If you invest in the right business, then you will reap the benefits,” she advised.