Eswatini Daily News

By Ncaba Ntshakala

The Government is heeding to the ‘Nkwe’ Royal command as it continues to boost to local economic development in constituencies.

On Wednesday, the Minister of Tinkhundla Administration and Development, Sikhumbuzo Dlamini, officially handed over three major income-generating projects worth E3,428,510.14 at Lugongolweni Inkhundla.

The projects are financed through the Regional Development Fund (RDF), an initiative aimed at poverty alleviation and reducing the rural-urban divide in the Kingdom of Eswatini.

The projects handed over include a Tractor Loader Backhoe (TLB) valued at E1,717,402.29 to the Matsetsa Multipurpose Cooperative, a tractor worth E804,897.93 to the Sibovini Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative,

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and a chicken shed along with chicks, medication, and feed valued at E906,209.92 to the Lamvusi Farmers’ Cooperative. These cooperatives consist of 14, 14, and 16 members respectively, and will collectively benefit 308 emaSwati, creating employment and enhancing local economic activities.

Minister Sikhumbuzo Dlamini emphasized the importance of these projects, stating, “The projects we are handing over today are a confirmation of many income-generating projects funded through the RDF, which is His Majesty King Mswati III’s brainchild.

The Minister, Senator Isaac Magagula, Chief Jozane Maziya and members of the cooperatives posing after the handover.

These projects directly address the objective of the Regional Development Fund, which is poverty alleviation in each of the four regions of the Kingdom of Eswatini.

” He lauded the visionary leadership of His Majesty in introducing the RDF to bridge the gap between rural and urban areas and highlighted ongoing efforts to develop legislation that would create a unified local governance system capable of managing devolved government functions.

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Since 2015, the RDF has financed over thirty projects worth more than E8 million in Lugongolweni Inkhundla alone, expressing the government’s dedication to support economic growth and improving the socio-economic conditions of emaSwati.

The Minister noted that these projects have already employed three individuals and encouraged a focus on income-generating projects to create more job opportunities and enhance wealth accumulation at the grassroots level.

The Minister also highlighted the Ministry’s concern over the predominance of infrastructural project applications compared to income-generating projects.

The TLB for Matsetsa Multipurpose Cooperative and a tractor for Sibovini Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative.

He urged emaSwati to prioritize the latter to spur job creation and increase income within local communities.

The Ministry, through the RDF, continues to provide alternative financing sources to cooperatives to support their business growth.

An impact assessment of all RDF-implemented projects is currently underway, with findings set to inform a review of the 2015 RDF regulations.

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This assessment aims to close gaps in project development and optimize the fund’s operations.

Moreover, the Minister of Tinkhundla Administration and Development stressed the importance of professional business ethics and internal harmony among cooperative members to ensure the sustainability of these projects.

He reminded beneficiaries of their responsibility to safeguard and effectively utilize the equipment and resources provided.

“The ball is in your court, and please put into practice the lessons you received from Community Development Officers and take full responsibility for your projects,” he urged.

Acknowledging the collaborative effort behind these projects, Minister Sikhumbuzo Dlamini thanked the Ministry of Tinkhundla Administration and Development, the RDF Technical Committee,

the RDF Committee, and the Micro Projects Programme for their roles in ensuring that the projects met the necessary requirements.

He also recognized the government’s ongoing support through the RDF, which continues to empower citizens, cooperatives, and companies, thereby contributing to the growth and sustainability of the nation’s economy

KaLanga Umphakatsi Chief Jozane Maziya applauded the Ministry for heading to His Majesty’s call to alleviate poverty and bring opportunities to emaSwati. The Chief urged the members of the cooperatives to use the equipment handed to them wisely.

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