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RECONSTRUCTION FUND COVERS 10% LINAC ENTERPRISES DAMAGES

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LUYENGO – Government through the Reconstruction Fund was only able to fund 10 per cent of Linac Enterprises damages endured during the unrest.

The reconstruction fund contributed E7 million to the 67 million worth of damages from all the retail shops. Linac Enterprises is 100 per cent Swati owned retail business trading under the OK Foods Supermarket, MiniMark, and Liquor Franchise. The business was established in 2007, and has been growing ever since. Currently it has seven supermarkets, and five liquor stores located within the Mbabane – Manzini corridor (Mbabane, Ezulwini, Kwaluseni, Mhlaleni, Ngwane Park, Logoba, and Manzini and it employs 531 emaSwati. Speaking during the official relaunch of OK Foods minimark Luyengo, Linac Enterprises and Investments director Lincoln Motsa said the unrest had a negative impact on the economy and a devastating effect to businesses. He said businesses were still adjusting to the gruelling restrictions posed by COVID-19 and the advents of the unrest worsened the situation.

Reconstruction

“I would like to extended and appreciate to government for accessing the damage and contributing towards the reconstruction,” he said. The director said eight of their stores were looted and some burned downed, and they lost more than half of their investments. “It was a really difficult time,” he said.  Motsa added that OK Foods also contributed towards cushioning the situation by offering extended terms on stock and other assistance. He further mentioned that Nedbank Eswatini and Standard bank Eswatini also offered assistance towards rebuilding the damaged stores and other services. Nedbank Eswatini Fikile Nkosi said they appreciated Linac Investments as a client, as they operate a competitive business in brands.

Impact

She said brands the likes of OK Foods were a competitive chain store brand and its impact in the country was expanding. “We saw determination and perseverance despite the challenges which is very imperative to the sector,” Nkosi said. The managing director said the strategy Motsa uses contributed to the bank offering him assistance as well as development. She said the stores are located in both urban and rural areas, which was something she urged investors to adapt. She said investors should mostly focus on scarce commodities. Acting Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade Dr Tambo Gina said Government through the Reconstruction Fund has been able to assist this business to rebuild and be back to business. “Under the fund the business has benefited to the tune of E7 million covering also other stores under the Linac Investments,” he said.

The minister said the Luyengo store was previously about 200 square meters, with only ten (10) employees, and now the store is 650 square meters and now employs 45 emaSwati.
He said Linac saw it fit to also construct a proper market stall for the local vendors, which cost the company  approximately E80 000, as they strongly believe in corporate social responsibility. Gina added that OK Foods was affected as suppliers declined in the volumes of orders and they also had to lay off and retrench staff as a result. He added that the industry as a whole suffered major stock shortages due to the unrest, as many manufacturers lost their businesses and could not produce enough to sustain the demand, which in turn saw price increases across a number of basic commodities.

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