Botswana Export Credit Insurance (BECI) has extended the rollout of the government’s P1 billion loan guarantee scheme to March 31, 2022, after financing more than P100 million worth of guarantees.
Last year government through BECI rolled out the scheme to the private sector as part of a range of COVID-19 interventions aimed at helping businesses.
The aim of the scheme was to encourage bank lending to qualifying businesses by offering a partial government guarantee of 80% to commercial banks and banks established by Botswana legislation. The banks shall retain the remainder of 20% of the risk of the financial facility.
The scheme is part of government interventions valued at about P5 billion, which include the wage subsidy and tax relief amongst others. BECI, a government-owned credit insurance firm, is tasked with administering the loan guarantee scheme.
This week, BECI managing director, Cowell Habana said they decided to extend the deadline for the guarantee after establishing that the effects of COVID-19 continue to cripple the economy.
Initially, BECI had expected to close applications for the loan guarantee scheme in November last year.
“We realised that the COVID-19 will not end soon and the damage continues hence why it is important for the scheme to continue,” he told BusinessWeek.
“We also continue receiving applications from businesses that seek assistance through their banks as some industries are still affected by the pandemic.”
Habana said most applications are from the agricultural industry followed by tourism and hospitality noting that these are the most affected.
Applications are done through local banks, which signed an agreement with BECI last year as the facility was launched. Scheme guidelines can be accessed through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development as well as BECI.
“I therefore urge the business community to take advantage of this initiative.
“If the situation continues to worsen, we will have to review the deadline again because the scheme seeks to give a financial boost to affected businesses,” Habana added.