42 companies apply
Citizen-owned companies have responded positively to Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency’s (CEDA) loan facility to manufacture essentials needed to combat Covid19 pandemic. CEDA Chief Executive Officer Thabo Thamane revealed that they have considered 42 loan requests totaling P39 million, with P22.7 million under appraisal. Thamane, however, raised concern that 30% of the applications were not relevant to fighting the pandemic or even applicable under guidelines for working capital. “People are submitting business as usual applications such as opening lodges, building multi residential areas and so forth,” he said. He said the Emergency Response Fund is specifically to tide businesses over the effects of COVID19, or to provide products that will help Botswana fight this pandemic. “While we understand that all types of business success is a boon for the economy and the country, during the period of Extreme Social Distancing, CEDA operations will focus on providing relief to their funded projects as well as the COVID19 Essentials Supplies Loan,” assured the CEDA CEO. Thamane said it was very important to Botswana that the numbers under the manufacturing sector increase as a direct link to the swelling demand for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This, he said, will have a direct effect on the country’s ability to be self-sufficient. The COVID-19 Essentials Supplies Loan is aimed at affording citizen-owned companies to participate in the production of essentials or products that might help in the fight against the pandemic. “The loan is aimed at ensuring heightened citizen participation and empowerment in the production and supply of items such as sanitizers, gloves, masks and other essentials identified to ensure the country’s sufficiency,” said Thamane, adding that the P30 million loan facility will be interest free up to 24 months and only citizen are eligible for the loan.