ZIMBABWE will soon open a modern skills development centre — the incubation centre — in partnership with India to assist small to medium enterprises (SMEs) throughout the country with various entrepreneurial skills, a government official has said.
Addressing small and medium enterprises at AMH Conversations yesterday, outgoing Small and Medium Enterprises minister Sithembiso Nyoni said the incubation centre will train 27 SMEs in business skills which include manufacturing toilet paper, drinking juices, roofing material and office material.
“We will have the incubation centre this year and the process has begun. The Indian government will have to bring its expertise in the centres,” she said.
She said Indian investors will provide equipment and expertise to the new entrepreneurs.
Nyoni said SMEs remain marginalised yet they account for $7 billion which is estimated to circulating outside the formal banking system.
The sector according to a government survey released early this year, employs 3,8 million people.
“SMEs are important economic players in Zimbabwe and the world, but in other countries they have been recognised.
“SMEs in Zimbabwe distribute more goods, but when it comes to budgets they get pittances and when municipalities do their land budget they forget them,” he said.
Nyoni said the SMEs Act was already in place and has gone to Parliament, what is left was for the public to know more about the Act through the media.
Nyoni said funding continues to be a major challenge to the sector.
Contools Holdings co-director Tawanda Mutyebere said some local banks are reluctant to extend funding to SMEs during their infancy, but only realise the importance when they become more profitable.
Mutyebere also criticised some local authorities, saying they continue to enforce pre-independence regulations which stifle entrepreneurship.
Contools is the parent company of Chicken Slice, one of the country’s fastest growing fast foods retailers.
“For instance, if one needs a shopping licence they have to go through hell. We need a change as far as systems are concerned,” Mutyebere said.
He added that SMEs were facing challenges from revenue authorities that require them to pay $1 000 for fiscal printers yet most SMEs do not have enough funding, while in some instances, the SMEs are required to pay more money for not owning the fiscal printers.