Botswana: Fund Benefits Over 3 000 - Rakgare

Gaborone — Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development has approved over 3 000 applications for COVID-19 financial assistance.

Briefing the media on the ministry's relief fund, Minister Tumiso Rakgare said over P70 million was set aside to provide financial relief to the creative sector.

The relief fund aimed at cushioning selected clubs and athletes as well as youth businesses from the effects of COVID-19

Between May and June, Mr Rakgare said out of 10 960 approved applications, over P7 million had been disbursed to over 3 019 applicants.

He also said a further P20 million had been approved and would be disbursed accordingly to the remaining batch of applicants.

Minister Rakgare added that his ministry, along with other stakeholders, would consult and devise a plan on further financial relief, should the need arises between August to December.

The delay of payments, he highlighted, emanated from various factors such as non-compliance by applicants, double dipping, non-authentic contracts of employment as well as shortage of information, among others.

On other issues, Minister Rakgare said the National Arts Council of Botswana Bill 2020 had been drafted and would be presented at the ongoing Parliament session.

Rakgare noted that the aim was to establish a secretariat as soon as the Bill gets an approval, to be operational by the end of the year.

He added that the tender for provision of local content for NOW! TV channel was out.

The closing date for submissions is tomorrow. NOW! is found on channel 290 on DSTV.

Minister Rakgare has encouraged and urged the youth in the creative industry to utilise the newly launched guidelines of CEDA to substantially grow their industry.

He acknowledged that the entertainment industry had been most hit by COVID-19, but said they did not have numbers of youth affected more by the pandemic.

Furthermore, he encouraged youth to always sign employment contracts with their clubs and associations or groups to help curb the virus.

Rakgare discouraged playing Sunday soccer as it had not yet been lifted and appealed to the youth to stop hosting chilling sessions and parties as that could expose them to the pandemic.

He urged them to be patient and comply with COVID-19 protocols put in place.

Source : BOPA

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