BY ARNOLD LETSHOLO
The Ministry of Investment Trade and Industry (MITI) has facilitated registration of 86 business names for People with Disabilities, since 2015; out of which 15 were registered during the 2018/19 financial year.
The Ministry’s Official, Polly Mpho Lucas told participants during the International Albinism Awareness Day (IAAD) commemoration at Institute of Health Sciences (IHS) amphitheatre the past Thursday that the types of businesses include among others agro businesses, transport and logistics, tuck shops and fashion designs.
“A total of 60 PWD companies have been registered since 2016, out if which 29 were registered during the 2018/19 financial year. There are more business names registered than companies because maintenance requirements under the business names are not as many as under the Companies Act,” said Lucas, citing the example that with a business name the proprietor is not required to file annual returns.
She highlighted that CIPA has made special dispensation to PWD, as it takes a day for people with disability to be assisted when registering business and company names.
She further revealed that one business has been funded by Citizen Entrepreneurship Development Agency (CEDA) at a value of P20 000, creating employment for two people during the current financial year. This, she said brings to a cumulative number of 15 businesses funded by CEDA at a value of P6, 820, 469.00; creating employment for 38 people with disabilities.
Furthermore, Lucas indicated that a total value of tenders worth P105 429.00 were awarded to ten PWD companies by the ministry departments and parastatals during the 2018/19 financial year.
“Some 46 PWD were given support across the Ministry as follows:1 4 were issued with import permits, three were issued with rebate certificates, 10 were assisted with the preparation of business plan by LEA and 16 given business advisory services and three consumer complaints handled were resolved within required turnaround time,” she said.
On the improvement of public awareness Lucas said during the financial year 2018/19, nine entrepreneurial skill development trainings and awareness workshops on economic empowerment were conducted for 735 aspiring and established PWD entrepreneurs in Otse, Gaborone, Kanye, Mochudi, Gaborone, Mahalapye, Shoshong, Moshupa, Lobatse, Selibe Phikwe, Francistown and Palapye.
The Ministry, she said has transcribed MITI Fact sheet into Braille; 115 copies of which were sent to national libraries across the country so that they can be accessed by the partially sighted and the blind on the 6th August 2018 to increase their level of ministry’s mandate. A total of 18 officers have been trained on level one sign language of their communities during the financial year. This will enable them to effectively communicate with the deaf customers who access the ministry’s services. This brings to a cumulative number of 20 officers who have been trained on level one and two respectively.
She urged the leadership of Tshimologo Association, an association for thewelfare of people with albinism, to submit data for their members so that they can organize workshops, fully paid for by the ministry.
“We continue to hold the following commemorations: IAAD, International Week of the Deaf, World Sight Day and International day for People with Disabilities in an effort to raise awareness to MITI departments and parastatals staff of challenges faced by people with albinism, visually impaired people and PWDs at large in accessing the services as well as raising awareness on disability issues and benefits so as to integrate PWD in the social, political and economic life of their communities,” she said.