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MBABANE – Long wait. About 40 days later, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) still cannot access the E45 million revolving fund from government which is meant to cushion them from the impact of COVID-19.

On August 3 (44 days ago), Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini announced a decision by government to set up an MSME Fund to the value of E45 million to support small and medium businesses affected by COVID-19.  The modalities and details on the Fund, according to the pm, were to be announced by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade.

With the modalities still not released by the time of compiling this report yesterday, reports suggested that frustration had started to creep in among the small businesses who wanted to access the fund to save their entities.

Federation of Eswatini Business Community (FESBC) FESBC Vice President Hezekiel Mabuza also confirmed that they were inundated with calls from members who wanted to access the fund. “We’re yet to get an update. The last time we checked government was working on the regulations,” said Mabuza.


Mabuza said the delay was derailing the small businesses in their bid to sustain themselves during this difficult period.
He said some wanted to access the money because they needed to keep some of their valuable employees while others wanted to take advantage of the opportunities presented by COVID-19.

“At this stage they are not sure if they would eventually access the fund.  They saw it as a last resort as it was difficult to access funding elsewhere. It was going to make a big impact.

“When the businesses lose employees, government also suffers in terms of tax revenue,” highlighted Mabuza.
Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade Manqoba Khumalo politely referred comments to Communications Officer Thabile Mdluli.

The latter was still waiting for feedback from the technical team at the time of compiling this report around 1:47pm.
Meanwhile, a revolving fund is simply a fund or account that remains available to finance an organisation’s continuing operations without any fiscal year limitation.
This is because the organisation replenishes the fund by repaying money used from the account.

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