Ministry, CBZ partner on SMEs

THE Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development is working on a number of programmes with the CBZ Bank to develop Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country, an official has said.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

Giving her official opening remarks at the ongoing CBZ International SME Indaba in Bulawayo yesterday, Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development permanent secretary Abigail Shonhiwa said the SMEs sector was sustaining Zimbabwe’s economy and should be supported.

“It is no secret that SMEs are sustaining many economies worldwide and here in Zimbabwe the sector has shown resilience and it helped sustain the livelihoods of many as well as the economy when the bigger corporates were in distress with some having closed their doors due to economic challenges that troubled our nation in the past few years,” Shonhiwa said.

“We, therefore, want to salute and appreciate what our SMEs are doing and continue to do for our economy and would like to emphasise the commitment by government of Zimbabwe to continue supporting the SMEs to grow,” she said.

Shonhiwa said the SMEs sector has proven to be an economic driver the world over, and government was putting in place policies meant to support SMEs and ensure that they contribute to the economy.

“I must also state that as the ministry and even as government we are working on a number of programmes with the CBZ that will support the SMEs. I would not want to mention them here, we believe action speaks louder than words,” she said.

“So I do not want to make an announcement but we will be meeting perhaps mid-year or towards the end of the year and you will see the fruits of the discussions, very positive discussions.”

This year, CBZ has since availed a $10 million loan facility for SMEs.

Shonhiwa said government will provide workspace for SMEs, business linkages, technology transfer, access to finance, among others.
Speaking at the same event, Bulawayo acting mayor, Silas Chigora said the sector was growing fast in both developing and developed countries.
“In fact in Zimbabwe the SMEs sector is contributing significantly to the economy in terms of employment and making sure that certain key products are available for the consumers. I am convinced that this is the same in a number of developing countries,” he said.

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