The Times of Swaziland reports..
LOBAMBA – Eswatini stands to benefit E1 billion from a company which has applied for a cannabis provisional licence.
This is the amount that the company seeks to invest in the country.
This was revealed by Leandra du Plessis, who is Chief Executive Officer of SwAurora, the company which has applied to be granted a licence to operate and produce cannabis oil for medicinal purposes. Du Plessis stated that the company has seven shareholders, five being emaSwati and two are non-emaSwati.
The duo’s directorship in the company is also pending.
The CEO was presenting to Members of Parliament (MPs) at the Parliament Conference Room yesterday during the public hearings on the legalisation of the opium and habit forming drug. She said the E1 billion had been loaned from a bank she did not name.
The CEO mentioned that the total investment of the cannabis project her company had proposed to inject was U$71 million, which was estimated to a E1 billion at the current exchange rate of E15 to the dollar. She further stated that an additional investment in manufacturing, encapsulation and distribution facilities would be made.
“We have got U$71 million that we need to pay back and it’s a loan to start the business,” du Plessis said.
The CEO mentioned that if there were people who were not going to support the company by giving them a good price for the oil, they would fall out of the bus.
For this reason, she highlighted that the company needed to market and trade the product well. She mentioned that since it (product) was disease specific, the company would approach clinics, hospitals and other health institutions which would have the financial ability to pay. Du Plessis stated that the company had already engaged in talks with its target markets.
Meanwhile, Chairperson of the Opium and Habit-Forming Drugs Act Committee, Maseyiseyini Member of Parliament Mdududzi ‘Small Joe’ Dlamini, asked if the money the company had said would invest was already approved and available to them.
In response, du Plessis said the money would be immediately released to the Central Bank of Eswatini once the provisional licence was approved.
In addition, she said the company would employ about 300 people and the tax benefits to the country from the company were estimated at E3 billion per annum.