By Hilary Mare
MINISTER of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, Immanuel Ngatjizeko has indicated that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) contribute approximately 12percent to the Namibian Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Addressing delegates at the launch of the Nedbank SME Division/ Customer Value Proposition last week the Minister further reiterated that latest figures show that an estimated 33 700 MSMEs provide some form of employment and income to 160 000, accounting for approximately one third of the nation’s workforce.
“MSMEs are key contributors to employment creation, income generation and poverty reduction among Namibians, both in rural and urban areas. Indeed, strong, independent and growing SMEs are the drivers of growth, innovation, development and job creation in an emerging economy where the scale and diversity of large businesses are insufficient to meet the demand for new investment and employment,” he added.
Ngatjizeko was speaking in view of Nedbank’s creation of a dedicated Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) division which will provide a range of products and services that will assist SMEs to run and grow their businesses expressing hope that the launch of this division will provide opportunities for the SMEs to access finance and other comprehensive business support services.
“Access to finance, particularly bank financing is a crucial element in the development of the SME sector, given the relative importance of the banking sector in serving this segment. A number of studies have shown that financing is a greater obstacle for SMEs than it is for large firms, particularly in the developing world, and that access to finance adversely affects the growth of the SME sector more than that of large companies. It is therefore, unsurprising that the Government of Namibia has listed SME access to finance as an important policy priority.
“As in most developing countries, the SME sector in Namibia forms a significant part of the economic activities. Nevertheless, they face a number of challenges, including limited access to finance from financial institutions. That is why the Nedbank SME Customer Value Proposition (CVP) is not only very important for SMEs, but also important for the Government and all other stakeholders in the SME sector,” he elaborated.
Nedbank Namibia’s SME business offering has been specifically tailored to aid the spirit of entrepreneurship and enterprise development addressed in the Harambee Prosperity Plan. It is an offering that will guide and support small business owners throughout the entire lifespan of their business ventures; from securing and starting their business.
“So while this may only be the beginning of Nedbank Namibia’s partnership with the small business sector, it is also a commitment that we aim to be more than a place where SME owners come to do their banking. We believe that in enabling business success and growth we are helping shape the future of small business in Namibia, and hence our commitment to providing entrepreneurs with practical value added services that truly make a difference to them,” said Managing Director of Nedbank Namibia Limited, Lionel Matthews.
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