Economic Growth Essential

| April 27, 2015

Economic growth will address developmental challenges that the country faces, says Assistant Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Sadique Kebonang.

Speaking at the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) open day in Lobatse on April 24 Mr Kebonang said economic growth would address developmental challenges such as poverty, unemployment and income equity.

“Without enlarging the size of the economy, it would be impossible to create jobs that the country desperately needs to address youth unemployment,” he said.

Economic growth, he said, was also necessary to support the government’s social welfare programmes. He said it was for this reason that growth and economic diversification should remain the country’s priority.

Mr Kebonang said the government had set up institutions such as CEDA to assist in addressing some of the challenges, as they had been created to provide financial assistance and business aisory services to citizens in order for them to set up businesses and grow the economy.

He further said Lobatse was envisaged to go through a lot of developmental transformations to ensure that there was enough diversification to support development in the area.

The assistant minister, who is also MP for Lobatse, revealed that the massive dairy production company called Milk Afric has recently had its environmental impact assessment study approved, assuring residents that the company’s operation would soon commence.

He also indicated that the feasibility study for the leather park in the town has been completed.

The leather park, he said, was envisaged to use the leathers from BMC abattoir for further processing.

“When fully operational, the leather park is expected to create significant employment opportunities as it undertakes activities such as leather tanning as well as manufacturing of goods from leather,” he said.

Mr Kebonang implored Lobatse residents to come up with viable and sustainable business plans that could sustain the town’s economy.

As Lobatse is along the road linking Namibia in the west and South Africa and Mozambique, Mr Kebonang said it provided a unique opportunity for a transport hub in the town.

He, therefore, encouraged residents to consider venturing into businesses that would support the transport business such as accommodation and restaurants.

He also urged all to utilise CEDA and other stakeholders for funding and other business development services and create employment and wealth in Lobatse.

For his part, CEDA chief executive officer, Mr Thabo Thamani said his agency was in the process of re- engineering so that it could be easy and fast to assist Batswana who needed their services.

He said the agency has mandated itself to assisting Batswana in the easiest way possible and looking into better ways to accomplishing that.

He said the agency was also set up to foster citizen entrepreneurship and empowerment, promote economic diversification and encourage the development of competitive and sustainable citizen enterprises.

He explained to Lobatse residents that the services that CEDA provides such as debt and equity financing, short-term and trade finance and credit guarantee among others. He reveled that CEDA was on a yearly basis given close to P430 million, solely to finance local businesses.

He noted that the agency has so far financed projects in Lobatse to the tune of close to P40 million, with the biggest investment going towards manufacturing at P18 million.

Manufacturing was followed by agri-business, which was financed at P9.2 million with P9.4 million going towards service oriented businesses. The financing, he said, had created direct employment opportunities to over 400 people.

He, however, said the figures showed that there was an opportunity to increase businesses in the area and also diversify the types of businesses available.

The open day, which was the sixth that CEDA has undertaken, saw multitudes thronging to the Peleng kgotla and had other CEDA stakeholders such as the Local Enterprises Authority (LEA), Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS), Ministry of Agriculture and Lobatse Town Council among others, showcasing their services to residents.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Business & Finance

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