Sunday, September 27, 2020

No plans to introduce CEDA sector specific packages – Govt

The Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA)has no plans, as yet, to introduce sector specific packages to finance agricultural businesses the Assistant Minister Karabo Gare has said. 

The junior minister said already a process is being undertaken on a broader perspective. 

Member of Parliament (MP) for Mmadinare Molebatsi Molebatsi recently asked the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry to consider introducing Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) sector specific packages for areas such as Mmadinare which is surrounded by Dams. 

The member wondered if this could be considered to help farmers in the area to be able to use part of the funding to connect or erect water tanks to be used in the farm.

Gare said: “As the ministry but other we consider a lot of factors not only from CEDA`s perspective but other parastastals. For example, we take cognizant that some areas have economic competencies of their own. That is why we have a special economic zone authority which is meant to make it easier for potential investors to thrive. Obviously in an area like Mmadinare we have already identified a potential investor to use those dams. However, I will not go into details to avoid jeopardising negotiations. I agree with the MP but we do it in a broader way not specifically through CEDA.”

Minister Gare said: “CEDA has financed a total of 1 943 agricultural businesses valued at P1, 200,341,400 across the country since 2010. Since 2010 CEDA financed 67 agricultural businesses in the Mmadinara constituency, valued at P3 386 689 and there has been a low uptake of CEDA agricultural products in the Mmadinare constituency due to the frequent outbreak of the foot and mouth disease in zone 7 area since 2008.”

However, after the introduction of Letlhabile product in 2020, which is focussed in assisting micro entrepreneurs, there was an increase in the number of applications in the constituency. A number of 57 projects are said to have been approved and valued at P275 400.

“The new CEDA guidelines are anticipated to facilitate more investment to the sector. The agency measures the success rate of its portfolios by survival rate, which shows the number of businesses which continue to be operational after three years. The survival rate for the agricultural sector is 69 percent,” said the junior minister.

Suggestions for establishing a CEDA technical wing to not only assess Agric business proposals, but follow up projects that are implemented to ensure they are implemented properly were dismissed by the junior minister. 

“My belief is that we are one government, we have Local Enterprise Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture who have technical competencies in the different areas of the Agric sector. In addition to that we have sector specific mentors who guide our entrepreneurs.”

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.