SMEs finally rewarded

HARARE - Small to Medium Enterprises Development minister Sithembiso Nyoni says 25 percent of government tenders will be awarded to the informal sector, a move expected to bolster economic growth.

“Our Bill is out and 25 percent of the tenders will be awarded to SMEs. If your tender application is rejected, you have the right to sue that government department,” Nyoni said whilst addressing delegates at a SMEs breakfast meeting in Bulawayo yesterday.

She said the small businesses have full protection from the law.

In the past, SMEs have been side-lined from supplying government departments with goods and services as tenders fell in the hands of politically-connected businesspeople.

According to reports, many small businesses have problems meeting tender requirements and deadlines because of financial problems caused by poor government support and banks’ reluctance to support them.

Economic Planning and Investment Promotion deputy minister Samuel Undenge said SMEs will be a key economic driver in the future.

SMEs contribute up to 80 percent of employment and also 80 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, according to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).

According to Nyoni, government will launch incubation centres for upcoming entrepreneurs, a model that has been successful in South Africa and India.

Business incubators are programmes designed to support the successful development of entrepreneurial companies through an array of business support resources and Zimbabwean entrepreneurs will participate in a number of such programmes in South Africa. - Nyasha Chingono

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