By Hilary Mare
PRIME Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has commended organisers of the Swakopmund SME mini expo for coming up with the idea of holding an exposition to specifically cater for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with key emphasis on their role to the economy.
Almost 40,000 SMEs are currently registered in Namibia and contribute to the country’s economy in various ways through employment creation and generations, adding value to the gross domestic product of the country and helping the country realise vision 2030’s agenda.
In a speech delivered on her behalf by Adv. Nangula Mbako, special advisor to the Prime Minister, at the Swakopmund SME mini expo 2018 Gala Dinner this past Friday, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila highlighted that the impact of SMEs is felt through the utilization of local raw materials, employment generation, encouragement of rural development and the development of entrepreneurship.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila also highlighted that the SMEs promote the mobilization of local savings, linkages with bigger industries, provision of regional balance by spreading investments more evenly, provision of avenue for self-employment and provision of opportunity for training of semi-skilled workers.
“Thus countries rely on the dynamism, resourcefulness and risk tasking of small and medium enterprises to trigger and sustain the process of economic growth. Our government has been giving increased policy attention to these enterprises because of the important role played by the small and medium enterprises in economic development. I, therefore, want to congratulate the organisers for putting the work of SMEs on the spotlight through this exposition,” Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said.
To date, Government has approved an SME’s support facility for SME’s that includes a Credit Guarantee Scheme, a Venture Capital Fund and Mentorship Program.
“I am further pleased to note the development of the Retail Sector Charter which was launched in 2016, and sets out guidelines for the sourcing and supplier development of local products to ensure that they find space on our shelves. I encourage the SMEs here tonight to thoroughly study the charter and make maximum use of it.
“Through the new public procurement dispensation, increased priority is given to SME’s through tender preferential and preference for local products for supply to government contracts. The NEEF also contains a pillar for the development of SME’s and local enterprises development through local procurement of goods and services
“Further, an SMEs portal site has been developed. The aim of the SMEs portal site is to develop the local economy through sales promotion of SMEs, facilitating the establishment of partnership among international organizations, private sectors and NGOs. I want to again, encourage SMEs to use this platform for exchange of ideas and experiences as well as for marketing your services to others,” Kuugongelwa-Amadhila further explained.
Government has also rolled out the Growth at Home Strategy which comprises three strategic intervention areas supporting value addition, securing market access and improving the investment climate in the country.
Specifically, the program targets to support businesses focusing on value addition to agro and fish processing; steel manufacturing; chemicals; mineral beneficiation; building materials ; pharmaceuticals and cosmetics sectors.
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