Connect with us
Advertisement

CEDA receives over 67 applications worth P26 million for stimulus facility

As part of governmentís efforts toward mitigating the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Minister of Investment Trade and Industry (MITI), Peggy Serame, together with Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) and other agencies launched Industry Support facility (ISF), last year November.

The facility is meant to extend financial support to businesses that have been affected by Covid-19 so as to revive the economy, protect jobs and promote opportunities for economic diversification.

Since the launch of the programme till date, CEDA has received 67 applications valued at P26 million for the ISF stimulus.

The facility is meant to extend financial support to businesses that have been affected by Covid-19 so as to revive the economy, protect jobs and promote opportunities for economic diversification.

CEDA Chief Operations Officer (COO) Andrew Madeswi said the facility is part of governmentís Economic Recovery and Transformation Plan (ERTP), which was approved by Parliament as an addendum to the Mid-Term Review of NDP 11.

Madeswi further reveal that the government has allocated P1.3 billion towards the ISF, of which P300 million will be administered by CEDA to assist Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs).

The remainder of the funds will be administered by agencies like National Development Bank (NDB), Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) and Botswana Tourism Organization (BTO).

According to Madeswi CEDA will only accept applications for funding of operating costs and working capital needs for short and medium term.

ďTo qualify for ISF, companies must have a maximum turnover of P10 million and the facility is only available to 100 percent citizen owned businesses that have been in operation for at least six months,Ē Madeswi explained.

ďApplicants must also be aged 18 years and above. Eligible companies must have an annual turnover of not more than P10 million; and CEDA will only give out loans not exceeding 10 percent of the companyís annual turnover.Ē

CEDAís Chief also indicates that applicants for ISF must be tax registered but they wonít be required to provide tax certificates.

Madeswi mentioned that; ďUnder the ISF, CEDA has undertaken to finance all sectors of the economy except tourism and agriculture, as those will be covered by other agencies that have also been given responsibility to administer the ISF.Ē

In a deliberate effort to remove barriers and make the facility accessible as possible, CEDA will not require security for the ISF except personal surety and undertaking by the project sponsors to do their best to ensure that the project remains sustainable.

ďTo avoid duplication and depletion of resources, companies that apply for ISF must not have benefitted from any other program offered by government specifically for Covid-19 relief purposes,Ē he revealed.

CEDA will disburse loans amounting to a minimum P500.00 and maximum P1 million; with interest charged at the prevailing Bank Rate.

However, CEDA has undertaken to charge interest equivalent to prime lending rate minus three percent for special sectors such as manufacturing, mining, construction, energy, technology & innovations, as well as the creative industry.

According to Madeswi, businesses which have operated up to three years will be required to pay back their loans within 60 months, while those that have existed for more than three years will be required to repay their loans within 12 months.

A grace period of up to six months can be granted at no interest charge. In line with governmentís efforts to protect jobs and encourage employment creation, CEDA will also require companies that benefit from the ISF to make an undertaking not to reduce employment during the loan period.

Meanwhile when presenting the 2021/2022 Budget, Minister of Finance and Economic Development (MFED) Dr Thapelo Matsheka allocated P975.03 million to the Ministry of Investment trade and Industry (MITI).

Dr Matsheka said the recommended budget comprises mainly of transfers to parastatals under the Ministry which accounts for 76.8 percent of its recurrent budget.

Finance Minister also mentioned that, the funding will be channelled towards the implementation of the CEDA revised guidelines and improves support for citizen economic empowerment under the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA).

Business

Grit divests from Letlole La Rona

22nd March 2023

Grit Services Limited, a member of the pan African real estate group, London Stock Exchange listed Grit Real Estate Income Group is divesting from Letlole La Rona Limited (LLR), a local real estate company established by government investment arm Botswana Development Corporation over a decade ago.

The Board of Directors of Letlole La Rona Limited this week announced in a statement to Unitholders that Grit Services Limited (‚ÄėGrit‚Äô) has informed them of its intention to exit its investment in the company.

Grit has been a material shareholder in LLR since 2019. On 07 March 2023, Grit sold 6 421 000 linked units, representing 2.29% of the Company’s total securities in issue, at a market value of BWP 22 537 710.

This trade follows previous sales of 6.79% in December 2022, as communicated to Unitholders on 10 January 2023, as well as a further sale of 4.78% (representing 13 347 068 linked units) on 24 February 2023 to various shareholders.

In aggregate, Grit has sold 13.9% shareholding in the Letlole La Rona between December 2022 and March 2023, resulting in current shareholding of 11.25% in the Company.

Letlole La Rona said in the statement that the exit process will take place in an orderly manner so as to maintain stability of the Company’s share price.

The statement explained that Grit’s sale of its entire shareholding in LLR is in line with its decision to exit investments where it does not have majority control, or where it has significant exposure to currencies other than US dollar, Euro or hard-currency-pegged revenue streams.

‚ÄúGrit has announced similar decisions pertaining to certain of its hospitality assets in Mauritius recently. The Company would like to advise Unitholders that it remains focused on long-term value delivery to all stakeholders‚ÄĚ LLR said

In July last year as part of their Go-to-Africa strategy Letlole La Rona acquired an initial 30% equity stake in Orbit Africa Logistics, with an option to increase this investment to 50%. OAL is a special purpose vehicle incorporated in Mauritius, owning an industrial asset in a prime industrial node in Nairobi, Kenya.

The co-investment was done alongside a wholly owned subsidiary of London listed Grit. The Orbit facility is situated on a prime industrial site on Mombasa Road, the principal route south of Nairobi center, serving the main industrial node, the port of Mombasa and the industrial town of Athi River and is strategically located 11 kilometers south of the international airport and 9.6 kilometers from the Inland Container Depot.

Grit shareholding in Letlole La Rona was seen as strategic for LLR, for the company to leverage on Grit’s already existing continental presence and expand its wings beyond Botswana borders as already delivered by Kenya transaction.

Media reports have however suggested that LLR and Grit have since late last year had fundamental disagreements on how to go about the Go-to-Africa strategy amongst other things, fuelled by alleged Botswana government interference on the affairs of LLR.

Government through LLR founding shareholder – Botswana Development Corporation has a controlling stake of around 40 percent in the company. Government is the sole shareholder of Botswana Development Corporation.

Letlole La Rona recently released their financial results for the six months ended December 2022, revenue increased by 4% to P50.2 million from P48.4 million in the prior comparative six months, whilst operating profit was up 8% to P36.5 million. Profit before tax of P49.7 million was reported, an increase of 8% on the prior comparative six months.

‚ÄúWe are encouraged by the strong results, notwithstanding a challenging economic environment. Our performance was mainly underpinned by annual lease escalations, our quality tenant base and below average market vacancy levels, especially in our warehouse portfolio,‚ÄĚ Kamogelo Mowaneng, Letlole La Rona Chief Executive Officer commented.

LLR reported a weighted average lease expiry period of 3.3 years and escalation rates averaging 6.8% per annum for the period ended 31 December 2022.Its investment portfolio value increased by 14% year-on-year to close the period at P1.4 billion, mainly driven by the acquisition of a 30% stake in OAL in July 2022.

The Company also recorded a significant increase in other income, predominantly due to foreign exchange gains on the OAL shareholder loan. ‚ÄúWe continue to explore pipeline opportunities locally, and regionally in line with our Go-to-Africa strategy and our interest remains on value-accretive investments,‚ÄĚ Mowaneng said.

An interim distribution of 9.11 thebe per linked unit was declared on the 6th of February 2023 for the half-year period to 31 December 2022, comprising of a dividend of 0.05 thebe and debenture interest of 9.06 thebe per linked unit which will be paid to linked unit holders registered in the books of the Company at the close of business on 24 February 2023.

Continue Reading

Business

Stargems Group establishes Training Center in BW

20th March 2023

Internationally-acclaimed diamond manufacturing company StarGems Group has established the Stargems Diamond Training Center which will be providing specialized training in diamond manufacturing and evaluation.

The Stargems Diamond Training Institute is located at the Stargems Group Botswana Unit in Gaborone.

‚ÄúIn accordance with the National Human Resource Development Strategy (NHRDS) which holds the principle that through education and skills development as well as the strategic alignment between national ambitions and individual capabilities, Botswana will become a prosperous, productive and innovative nation due to the quality and efficacy of its citizenry. The Training Centre will provide a range of modules in theory and in practice; from rough diamond evaluation to diamond grading and polishing for Batswana, at no cost for eight weeks. The internationally- recognized certificate offered in partnership with Harry Oppenheimer Diamond Training School presents invaluable opportunities for Batswana to access in the diamond industry locally and internationally. The initiative is an extension of our Corporate Social Investment to the community in which we operate,‚ÄĚ said Vishal Shah, Stargems Group Managing Director, during the launch of the Stargems Diamond Training Center.

In order to participate in this rare opportunity, interested candidates are invited to submit a police clearance certificate and a BGCSE certificate only to the Stargems offices.  Students who excel in these programs will have the chance to be onboarded by the Stargems Group. This serves as motivation for them to go through this training with a high level of seriousness.

‚ÄúCommunity empowerment is one of our CSR principles. We believe that businesses can only thrive when their communities are well taken of. We are hoping that our presence will be impactful to various communities and economies. In the six countries that we are operating in, we have contributed through dedicating 10% of our revenues during COVID-19 to facilitate education, donating to hospitals and also to NGOs committed to supporting women and children living with HIV. One key issue that we are targeting in Botswana is the rate of unemployment amongst the youth. We are looking forward to working closely with the government and other relevant authorities to curb unemployment,‚ÄĚ said Shah.

Currently, Stargems Group has employed 117 Batswana and they are looking forward to growing the numbers to 500 as the company grows. Majority of the employees will be graduates from the Stargems Diamond Training Center. This initiation has been received with open arms by the general public and stakeholders. During the launch, the Minister of Minerals and Energy,  Honorable Lefoko Moagi, stated that the ministry fully endorses Stargems Diamond Training and will work closely with the Group to support and grow the initiative.

‚ÄúAs a ministry, we see this as an game changer that is aligned with one of the United Nations’ Six Priority Sustainable Development Goals, which is to Advance Opportunity and Impact for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). What Stargems Group is launching today will have a huge impact on the creation of employment in Botswana. An economy‚Äôs productivity rises as the number of educated workers increases as its skilled workmanship increases. It is not a secret that low skills perpetuate poverty and widen the inequality gap, therefore the development of skills has the potential to contribute significantly to structural transformation and economic growth by enhancing employability and helping the country become more competitive. We are grateful to see the emergence of industry players such as Stargems Group who have strived to create such opportunities that mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19 on the economy,‚ÄĚ said the Minister of Minerals and Energy.

Continue Reading

Business

Food import bill slightly declines

20th March 2023

The latest figures released by Statistics Botswana this week shows that food import bill for Botswana slightly declined from around P1.1 billion in November 2022 to around P981 million in December during the same year.

This content is locked

Login To Unlock The Content!

Continue Reading