For the first time since its establishment, the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) has approved funding in the amount of P709 million in less than one year in order to ensure continued business activity during the COVID -19 pandemic.
CEDA has never ever approved such an amount for funding that is just a quarter short of P1billion, especially in a period of less than a year. The agency usually approves funding of around P400 million per year.
The approved P709 million was targeted mainly at four economic sectors, namely, agribusiness, manufacturing, property and services.
Under agribusiness, CEDA has approved P139 million to be disbursed among mainline agribusinesses. A part of it will be used to offer trade finance to agribusiness enterprises, another part will finance agribusinesses under Mabogo Dinku and Letlhabile, while some of the funds will be disbursed under COVID-19 financing. So far P130.5 million has already been disbursed to several enterprises in the agribusiness sector.
Under manufacturing, P180 million was approved to be disbursed among mainline manufacturing operations for use as trade finance and to finance manufacturing projects under Letlhabile, Mabogo Dinku, the Industry’s Support Facility (ISF)and COVID-19 financing. P90 million has so far been allocated to several businesses.
P64 million has been approved to finance the property sector. It is to be spread among mainline property businesses for use as trade finance, as well as the Industry Support Facility (ISF). P63 million of this has already been distributed.
The services industry was given a large chunk of the approved funds at P326 million. The money was spreading among mainline businesses, trade finance, Mabogo Dinku, Letlhabile, the Industry Support Facility, as well as COVID-19 financing.
P166.5 million of that has been allocated already. According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CEDA, Thabo Thamane, CEDA grew its funding because at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. It compelled CEDA to devise initiatives to support the SMME sector and other businesses during this difficult period.
Thamane said the agency started by offering repayment holidays to 1550 funded businesses and suspending all litigation. “The Agency introduced the CEDA COVID-19 Emergency Fund in March 2020 to assist businesses with bridging finance during the pandemic,” he explained.
“It later introduced Letlhabile in May 2020 in an effort to support micro entrepreneurs to get back into business after the first nationwide lockdown. Together with other government agencies, CEDA administered the Industry Support Facility starting Q3 of 2020/2021.”
Thamane disclosed that in the year ended March 2021, CEDA received 18,607 applications valued at P5.3 billion. “They comprised 8,971 approved applications valued at P709 million,” he said. It is a first for CEDA to approve funding valued at P709 million.
“The high performance is due to revision of the CEDA guidelines and introduction of new products that were made to curb the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, presenting extra ordinary factors.”