GOVERNMENT says limited appropriate workspace has been a major challenge affecting the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Last week Warren Park legislator Shakespeare Hamauswa wrote to Women’s Affairs minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, requesting an update on the City of Harare’s plans to provide workspaces for MSMEs.

Responding on behalf of Mutsvangwa, Justice minister and leader of government business in Parliament Ziyambi Ziyambi said there were challenges in addressing the needs of MSMEs.

“Limited access to affordable and appropriate workspace in Harare remains one of the major impediments affecting the development of the micro, small and medium enterprise sector,” Ziyambi said.

“The micro-enterprises and the majority of the informal businesses are in conflict with the regulatory authorities because they will be operating from undesignated and unregulated places.”

Ziyambi said the ministry had initiated multi-stakeholder engagements with government departments, local authorities and the private sector to include MSMEs in their work plans.

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“The ministry is also working in collaboration with local authorities, the private sector and development partners to renovate existing or put up new modern workspaces for micro and small enterprises with designs, taking into account the type of business or trades to be housed,” Ziyambi said.

“The inter-ministerial committee has identified Shawasha grounds, Hatcliff, Kuwadzana and Glen View as new workspaces for the sector.  However, lack of funds has hindered progress on those sites.

“To address funding challenges, the ministry has made engagements with pension fund institutions and private companies, to partner the government on the provision of modern workspaces for the MSMEs sector.”

The informal sector has become the backbone of Zimbabwe’s economy, contributing at least 80% to gross domestic product.