Mbabane: As another measure to cushion small and medium enterprises, particularly informal traders, Government has announced the provision of a E650 subsidy on COVID-19 tests for informal cross border traders.
Since COVID-19 test cost E850, this means cross-border traders will pay a minimal fee of E200 for the test, provided they are included in the list for weekly travel to be submitted to Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade by cross border trade associations.
The good news were announced by the Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini on Tuesday during a press briefing held at the cabinet offices.
Dlamini said the agreement reached with cross border trade associations is that only 200 traders will travel per week on a regional rotation. Government has observed that a key feature of informal cross-border trade is that most traders are women, and for these women such trade is often their main or even only source of income.
The costs associated with acquiring a COVID-19 test certificate have, therefore, proven to be prohibitive in cross border trade hence the introduction of the subsidy programme.
Meanwhile, Dlamini said even though the implementation of the E45 Million MSME Revolving Fund has taken a bit longer than initially anticipated, government is now near finalisation as its Regulations are now in Parliament.
Government is also continuing with compensatory relief to workers who suffered loss of earnings as a result of being laid off due to the devastating effects of COVID-19.
A total of 21 368 employees have now been paid from the Relief Fund to date. It must be noted that a majority of the employees who were laid off have since been recalled back to work pursuant to the cautious and gradual opening of economic activity and relaxation of the partial lockdown restrictions. However, those employees who are still on layoff continue to benefit from this Fund. A total sum of E12 794 600 – 00 has since been paid from the Fund.
PM encouraged all employers who laid off their employees without pay to approach the Ministry of Labour and Social Security for the necessary assistance so that every deserving employee can benefit from this Fund.