Local businesses that received funding from CEDA have been encouraged to repay their loans in order to enable the agency to revolve the funds and increase the number of beneficiaries for the scheme.
Vice President Ponatshego Kedikilwe made these remarks at CEDA’s 10-year anniversary celebrations at the Gaborone International Convention Center this past week.
“The entitlement mentality that has been displayed by some beneficiaries will render ineffective the government’s efforts of growing the economy,” said Kedikilwe.
His outlook comes a week after the Minister of Trade and Industry Dorcas Makgetho-Malesu admitted in parliament that the agency is struggling to recover payments from at least 238 businesspeople who all have arrears running to over five months.
In 2001,CEDA was established as the government’s financial development arm, tasked with the responsibility of developing entrepreneurs through the provision of funding, as well as basic training and mentoring. Ten years later, CEDA has sponsored local SMMEs with more than 3.2 billion pula worth of funding.
Of the 3.2 billion, a record 2.291 billion pula was invested in the development fund while 352 million was allocated to the CEDA credit guarantee scheme.
P216 million was spent on the Young Farmers Fund initiative while P212 million went to the CEDA Venture Capital Fund. Equity investments took P138 million and while 17 million was reserved for Citizen Entrepreneurial Mortgage Assistance Equity Funds.
The Development Fund, which had the largest share of the 3.2 billion, was divided into three categories, with the services sector receiving P1.076 billion worth of funds, followed by the agribusiness sector with P687 million and, finally, Property and Manufacturing with P526 million.
“Collectively these enterprises have created an estimated 30,607 jobs for Batswana,” said Kedikilwe.
The Vice President has also called for the private sector, which he described as the “engine of economic growth”, to buy into the idea of purchasing locally produced goods and services.
“As CEDA continues supporting Batswana to fully participate in the country’s economy, I wish to renew government’s resolve to supporting CEDA to ensure successful implementation of its mandate,” said Kedikilwe.
He conceded that for the past 10 years, CEDA has come across hurdles, which, however, should not obstruct the fact that the Agency has achieved significant milestones in providing the much needed support to the development of SMMEs and establishment of new industries in the country.
He maintained that CEDA remains an integral part of the Economic Diversification Drive, as a provider of funding and business advisory to local businesses.