A snap survey by the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) has found that about 63% of the sampled Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME) have suspended operations due to the crisis caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The same survey found that of the 382 enterprises in the survey sample, monthly revenues had declined by an average of 47%. The 382 enterprises surveyed collectively employ about 2,669 people and had a total commercial loan balance of P130 million.
LEA Head of Corporate Affairs and Market Access, Boikhutso Kgamanyane told BusinessWeek that the 142 enterprises that remained operational faced challenges of importation of raw materials and inability to pay fixed costs, which include rent, salaries and loans to mention a few.
“We made an intervention as LEA and assisted enterprises that supply essential services to procure permits and facilitate imports of raw materials for production where necessary,” she
Other interventions include assistance with testing and certification of essential products by Botswana Bureau of Standards as well as the extension of rental holidays of between three to six months to 24 of all SMMEs operating in LEA incubators.
The Authority has also identified 13 enterprises for assistance with scaling up to compete sustainably in the production of medical consumables and personal hygiene products.
LEA also assisted 300 of the surveyed SMMEs with applications to the Botswana Unified Revenue Service for government’s wage subsidy. A further 19 businesses were assisted to apply for working capital and loan repayment holidays at the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency and commercial banks.