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SME Apex body on cards

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Small and Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development minister Sithembiso Nyoni yesterday said plans to establish an apex national association of small to medium enterprises is underway.

Nyoni said the ministry had come up with a policy paper on the provision of appropriate infrastructure for SME’s and the micro-small and medium enterprises Act (MSME).

Speaking at the SME business conference in Harare this week, Nyoni said the policy would advocate for a good working relationship among stakeholders, including the government.

“This has provisional representatives who are working flat out to see to it that the SME needs are addressed,” she said.

“The SME Act advocates for the establishment of an advisory body on SME development issues, setting up various schemes to benefit SME’s and setting aside 25% of all contract suppliers to government, local authorities and state enterprises from MSME’s.”

She also encouraged SMEs’ to form clusters according to location and products that would enable the easy provision of business development services by the ministry and the stakeholders.

The ministry, in conjunction with the government of India, launched the Indo-Zimbabwe project, which provides state-of-the-art machinery and equipment for use by SMEs.

The project was introduced to 14 common facility centres countrywide.

“SMEs and co-operatives in the furniture and metal fabrication are being trained on how to use the machinery,” Nyoni said.

She said Zimbabwe was poised to be the regional hub for high technology in areas covering tool and die making, printed circuit board manufacturing and computer-controlled numeric technology in the region.

Nyoni also said the ministry was hoping in the near future, funds permitting, an SME secondary stock exchange would be established.

“This will indeed unlock value for SMEs to fully participate in the country’s economy,” she said.

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