Responding to the economic impacts of Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic which erupted last year, the government of Botswana set up a fund to help businesses that have been affected by the pandemic.
Industry Support Fund
Industry Support Fund (ISF) which is under the government’s long-term plan of National Economic Recovery and Transformational Plan (ERTP) was created on October 2020 and received cash injection of a whooping P1.3 billion.
The fund was shared across government business support organizations being Citizen Entrepreneurship Development Agency (CEDA), Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), National Development Bank (NDB), and Botswana Development Corporation (BDC).
CEDA and LEA mainly supports Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs), LEA also assists the informal sector. On the other hand, NDB focusses on supporting Agriculture, and Tourism & Hospitality sectors.
Of the P1.3 billion, BDC received P300 million to disburse. BDC is an organization that focusses on assisting large-scale businesses financially to resuscitate economy, create employment, and diversify the economy.
BDC through the Industry Support Fund is committed to funding large-scale businesses, that have an annual revenue income of P50 million or more, or had that income before the pandemic. The fund is meant resurect the economy, resuscitate businesses through funding, and helping Batswana in general.
Guidelines followed when assisting businesses
The businesses that fits the following description are to be assisted: Businesses that support participation of citizens i.e. Citizen Economic Empowerment (CEE); businesses that create employment; businesses that use goods and services from Botswana; businesses that reduce the country’s import bill.
- Loans won’t require security.
- Will provide businesses with working capital.
- Will assist both citizen and foreign investment businesses, but giving citizens priority.
- Assist businesses that pay tax and have Tax identification number.
- Money will be paid back over a period of thirty (30) months; with 6 months graze period, and twenty-four (24) months to pay back.
- Loans have a 5.25% interest rate.
- Each business can be given a loan of up to P25 million
- Businesses financed to give monthly progress report; finances, procurement of local goods, and employment.
- No employee can be relieved off duties during that period.
- Only existing businesses can be assisted, not start-ups.
• P50 million disbursed so far.
• Businesses that benefitted are from different sectors.
- A detailed business plan, stating how COVID-19 affected them and their recovery plan.
Sectors eligible for this assistance include; manufacturing sector, food sector, financial services, health care, tourism & hospitality.
The organization’s aim is to have paid out the P300 million by June 2021.
This was revealed by Ms. Boitshwarelo Lebang-Kgetse; Head of Corporate Affairs & Strategy at BDC and Mr. Modise Mokone who is Investment Principal at BDC in an interview with Botswana Television this morning.