Gaborone — There is need to foster an export led economy, with a view to create sustainable and competitive Small and Medium Enterprises(SMME's) says President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi.
Speaking at the launch of Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) revised guidelines , President Masisi said government had reviewed the CEDA guidelines to ensure responsiveness to an increasingly dynamic and unpredictable national and global economic environment.
The reviews , he said would support and entrench broad based citizen economic empowerment in Botswana.
Dr Masisi highlighted that the guidelines were revised in line with the recommendations of a study which was conducted to identify business opportunities particularly, within the manufacturing sector.
He said guidelines also aimed at facilitating citizens to venture into business by providing favorable lending terms with regard to loan limits, interest rates, repayment periods, equity component, service fees and security requirements.
Additionally, President Masisi said that the guidelines would equip citizens with entrepreneurial and management skills, training and mentoring services as well as facilitating access to loans by the youth, women and people with disabilities.
He said small business loan limits have been increased to P1 million while, medium businesses have seen an increased to P10 million and large businesses have a ceiling increment to P50 million.
President Masisi said the interest rate for loans for small scale businesses in the special sectors of manufacturing, technology and innovations, agriculture, the creative industry and tourism, has been lowered by 3 percent from the current prime lending rate of 5.75 percent to make it 2.75 per cent.
He said the repayment period has been increased from five to seven years for medium and large scale businesses while the interest rate for special sectors, has been reduced by 1.5 per cent from the current prime lending rate of 5.75 percent to make it 4.25 percent.
"CEDA loans of up to P50 million will no longer require collateral as before as security in the new guidelines will be provided through personal surety and security based on the value of assets funded by CEDA," he said.
He however said it would only apply to critical sectors like agro-processing, construction, technology and innovation, energy, manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, mining and the creative industry.
President Masisi said artists in the creative industry would be required to use their intellectual property as security adding that government had also ensured the broad participation of citizens across key and priority sectors through a balanced mix of incentives.
Dr Masisi further applauded CEDA for the revised guideline saying they would contribute in no small measure to the economic empowerment of Batswana.
He said government initiatives such as the revised guidelines would go a long way in government's response to ensure a competitive, sustainable and diversified export base that would ultimately reduce the country's import bill.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>