Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) is still on the hunt for suitable candidates for the uptake of the Industry Support Fund (ISF) which was disbursed by government to mitigate the effects of Covid-19 pandemic. The Corporation also indicated that by year end it had received requests amounting to P291.2 million through the ISF route and only wo applicants have been approved to the value of P50 million by June 2021.

“The Corporation is at an advanced stage with different entities for additional uptake of the Industry Support Facility. It is expected that there will be further uptake in the next financial year. BDC continues to engage with the market to find suitable candidates for the uptake of the ISF.” BDC is mandated to administer a P300 million Facility on behalf of the Government for large businesses, which administration shall include, inter alia, receipt of the application for the loan from eligible businesses, assessing the loan application, disbursing the funds and monitoring the loan performance post disbursements.

In his comment on the corporation’s 2020/2021 annual report, BDC Managing Director, Cross Kgosidiile revealed that by end of June 2021, the Corporation had approved and disbursed funding worth P50 million, for businesses in the manufacturing and healthcare sectors. Kgosidiile said BDC disbursed P457 million into projects during the year that ended June 2021 against a target of P871 million. “Although lagging behind budget by 48 percent, there was significant progress made, given the change in the economic climate which materially impacted the Corporation’s pipeline conversion.” During the financial year, BDC registered 73 percent lag from the budget to the amount of P32 million.

Kgosidiile explained that delayed pipeline conversion contributed to lower than budgeted interest income, which stood at P149 million, 29 percent lower than budget. The corporation also experienced adverse impact of Covid - 19 pandemic in income lines such as dividend and rental income. Group operating profit closed the year at P23 million, 93 percent lower than prior year P341 million mainly driven by significant impacts of the pandemic on the operating environment of the investee companies.

In response to negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, BDC undertook support initiatives towards sustaining the economy and availed P75 million worth of contingency funds which were geared towards helping affected companies in the form of equity injections and loans to maintain operations of the affected investee companies and to ensure that jobs are preserved and that the businesses are also sustained.

The Corporation has also made provision for the restructuring of loans for the affected businesses through interest holidays. Kgosidiile said BDC is embarking on its ‘Beyond 2019’ strategy for the 2021-2026 strategic period. “Beyond 2019 is a bold new direction for the Corporation to maximise long-term value for the shareholder and create wealth for future generations by deeply integrating Botswana into the global economy through investments and partnerships. The new strategy aims to move the Corporation from a focus on Economic Development to Economic Transformation.”