Citizen Entrepreneurship Development Agency (CEDA) has disbursed P624 million under the new revised guidelines which were launched last year, with 6400 businesses becoming beneficiaries.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CEDA, Thabo Thamane, when addressing media recently said the main objective for the new CEDA guidelines is to empower and facilitate sustained support for the improved competitiveness of the Small and Mid-size enterprises (SMEs) in Botswana.
Thamane said the P624 million funding of businesses show that more Batswana were interested in the revised guidelines since it offers them a more relaxed environment of business performance.
He said: “Out of the P624 millions worth of business which has been approved, P314 million approved were for the special sectors.”
“This special sectors are those which we have identified as they are very key in terms of driving the economy and creating the much needed employment and 50 percent of what was approved from the revised guidelines is geared towards special sectors.”
According to Thamane, more Batswana are now gearing to be part or drivers of the economy but not the spectators.
Meanwhile Thamane noted that during the 2020/2021 financial year which ended in March, the agency received 18,607 applications which were valued at over P5, 377 billion which comprised of the 8 771 approved applications valued at P709 million.
The number of jobs maintained as at March 2021 stands at 4113 whereas the number of jobs created stands at 8410.
He indicated that the high performance was due to the revised CEDA guidelines and introduction of new products that were introduced to curb the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, presenting extra ordinary factors.
When speaking about some of the interventions which they came up with as the agency towards offering support to the SMEs during the pandemic, Thamane said the first initiative was to conduct an assessment of the likely impact of businesses especially the different sectors which CEDA funds with regards to the ability to repay the loans.
“We came to the conclusion that one of the interventions which we had to do, was to offer repayment holidays and suspend all the litigations that were happening during the first lockdown,” he said.
“We offered 1550 businesses repayment holidays and extended the grazing period with most businesses benefiting were from the tourism and transport sectors.”
According to Thamane, they also introduced CEDA Covid-19 emergency fund in March 2020 to assist businesses with bridging the financial gap during the pandemic hence the fund was geared towards businesses which were onto services or activities that helped government curb the spread of Covid-19.
He said CEDA Covid-19 interventions assisted 7540 businesses valued at P79 million ultimately protecting 7347 jobs while also further creating 3769 employment at the same time.
Under the Letlhabile program, Thamane said they assisted 7327 businesses valued at P35, 2 million with 7,107 jobs maintained also creating 3546 employment.
Moreover, Thamane said the Letlhabile product was the most popular of the interventions hence they are in the process of reviewing the intervention with the aim of making it a permanent product aimed at assisting micro entrepreneurs.
When speaking about Industry Support facility (ISF) which was launched by former Minister of Investment Trade and Industry, Peggy Serame, Thamane said they assisted 62 businesses valued at the tune of P11.6 million ultimately maintaining 136 jobs and creating 97 new jobs.
He said one of the conditions of the ISF facility when one makes an application, is that the prospective applicant must commit not to retrench or lay off employees hence the agency would have assisted the applicant with working capital for the day to day running expenses.