Africa-Press – Botswana. Chema Chema Fund was introduced partly in recognition of the effects COVID-19 has had on the economy, particularly the informal sector.

“The COVID-19 fight has depleted funds that could have been used to grow the economy and create job opportunities for Batswana, therefore, this is the time for eligible citizens to wisely use the fund to better their lives,” said Member of Parliament for Kanye South Dr Lemogang Kwape.

Dr Kwape was speaking during the Chema Chema Fund workshop in Kanye on Saturday and advised Batswana to approach the right institutions for information regarding government programmes and not fall prey to those who want to discourage others from benefitting, by misinforming them. Dr Kwape, who is also the Minister of Foreign Affairs advised that funds be used wisely so that businesses that have benefitted could grow and eventually contribute to the economy.

He urged public servants to be courteous to those needing their assistance for the initiative to achieve its intended purpose.

CEDA Kanye branch manager, Mr Tuelo Rabaloi said government acknowledged the importance of the informal sector as contributors in growing the economy, hence the introduction of Chema Chema Fund.

“The informal sector contributes in reducing unemployment and poverty and it is mostly made up of women who take care of families and they deserve to be assisted,” said Mr Rabaloi, adding that the sector currently contributed 3.2 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product with potential to do more.

He said the idea behind the fund was to also lay a solid foundation for businesses, to grow them so that they could qualify for funding from institutions as CEDA.

Mr Rabaloi further explained that Chema Chema loan was unsecured, noting that there was no security required for one to be assisted. He, however, noted that the loans must be serviced to ensure that other Batswana could benefit as well. “Even if you are black listed, you can still apply for Chema Chema and married people can apply individually for their various projects,” he said.

Mr Rabaloi urged Batswana to use the funds for the intended purpose and to work hard to grow their businesses, so as to successfully service the loan.

Wealth Point Consultancy director, also Youth Development Fund beneficiary Mr Tefo Maleka shared his success story, testifying that government programmes were good if properly used. He said after paying back his YDF loan, he further approached CEDA for fund assistance to grow his business. The loan, he said had also successfully been cleared.

For a businesses to succeed, he said one must have clear set goals, good record keeping and multiple streams of income.

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