04 MAY 2020

Atlas Mara Bank Zambia managing director James Koni is confident that the country will overcome the extraordinary challenge that has come as a result of Covid-19.

Mr Koni said Covid-19 has resulted in an unprecedented challenge and disruption not only for the Bank but for other key economic players in managing their day to day activities both at an international and domestic level.

He said this in Lusaka yesterday that the challenge was also at individual, business and governmental levels which require concerted effort from all to overcome. He further highlighted that he was confident that given the resolve and focus of key stakeholders such as Government and the Central Bank and the entrepreneurial spirit of the private sector, that the challenges currently presented by the Covid19 outbreak would systematically be vitiated.

Mr Koni commended Government and the various ministries, the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) for the numerous initiatives and policies announced with the aim to provide relief particularly for the most affected sectors of the economy.

“As a Bank we have taken immediate measures to support and provide relief to our customers facing hardship as a result of Covid-19 outbreak.

“We recognise that the sudden onset of Covid-19 has particularly presented liquidity challenges to our customers and we will be supporting our customers during this difficult time”

He explained that the Bank would be supporting and providing businesses and households with appropriate financial solutions and debt distress preventative programmes to provide financial relief on existing or new credit facilities in a manner that avoids financial distress occasioned by the Covid19 outbreak.

The programmes will include the issuance of new loans with concessionary interest rates, extension of loan tenors on existing loans, deferment of interest and capital repayments and the provision of grace periods of up to 12 months on capital repayments. The Bank will also provide free financial and business advice services for our customers to help businesses and households manage their financial plans through this period of the Covid19 outbreak stress.

He revealed that this would be done on a case by case basis dependent on the extent of the impact of the Covid-19 on the respective businesses or individuals.

Mr Koni urged customers that required assistance to contact the Bank, stating that the Bank would rely on the BOZ Medium Term Facility (MTF) funding announced recently by the Central Bank.

“We hope that these relief packages will provide support to our customers whose businesses have been distressed by the pandemic. We will ensure that the relief reaches our customers who need help the most as outlined by the Bank of Zambia and Ministry of Finance,” he said.