Upgrading micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), making them more productive and registering them as formal businesses, is seen as critical for accelerating economic growth and ensuring that this growth is spread across the nation, President Mnangagwa said yesterday.
As a result Government has drawn up the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Economic Policy 2020-2024, and allocated $1 billion in next year’s Budget, the President noted when launching the policy in Gweru at the annual meeting of MSMEs, stressing that the programme is aimed at revamping productivity and ensuring all informal businesses are registered and contribute meaningfully towards the national development agenda and Vision 2030.
President Mnangagwa said small to medium enterprises play a critical role in achieving Vision 2030 of turning the country into an upper middle income economy hence Government’s commitment to fund the sector at a significant level.
The new policy should stimulate growth and form synergies which will create jobs and empowerment .
“The policy seeks to enhance productivity, competitiveness and profitability of MSMEs. It will also ensure MSMEs and other marginalised groups are included in our national development agenda which leaves no one behind,” he said.
“We look forward to greater collaboration between Government and other stakeholders to achieve the goals set out in this policy framework. I exhort all stakeholders to work together to find solutions and maximise on the opportunities inherent within the micro, small and medium enterprises.”
President Mnangagwa said the informal businesses should strive to formalise their operations and register their businesses with the Standards Association of Zimbabwe for their products to be competitive on the market.
The Second Republic would continue to render assistance to MSMEs as they incorporated the majority of women and youths in the country.
“My presence at this year’s event is testimony of my Governments recognition of the role played by micro, small and medium enterprises in job creation, empowerment, wealth generation and the economy as a whole. The sector absorbs a large portion of women and youths,” said President Mnangagwa.
As the country forged ahead with implementation of the National Development Strategy, the sector must come up with robust strategies for growth, creating synergies with local universities riding on the modernisation and industrial drive.
“Clear, achievable benchmarks and milestones must be laid out in tandem with the National Vision 2030. As MSMEs, you must develop modern, world class, quality products and services which meet the needs of our people, now and for the future,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said MSMEs must create partnerships and networks to establish a broader market base.
“This will serve to expose you to potential markets, contemporary skills and technologies as well as emerging trends. Furthermore, I challenge you to develop synergies with universities as the private sector to tap into the ongoing innovations and inventions which can propel resilience and growth of enterprises,” he said.
MSMEs should embrace the new normal in line with the new realities in terms of the national development agenda.
“Let us all anticipate and re-engineer our enterprises in a post Covid-19 which undoubtedly presents immense possibilities which require corresponding and adaptive products and businesses.
“The visible legal framework which my Government continues to improve along with management and technical skills development, access to modern production technology, market development and trade promotion for MSMEs among others, will spur the growth of the sector,” he said.
President Mnangagwa was impressed by the quality products produced by local companies and exhibited at the meeting.
“I am also pleased to note that SME’s have taken a bold step to engage the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) to certify their products. The certification process will go a long way towards improving the sectors competitiveness, consistent product quality and customer confidence. We look forward to more SMSs achieving SAZ certification,” he said.
The President said under Government’s National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), MSMEs play a more pronounced role in employment creation.
There was also need for the establishment of rural industry systems through using local resources found within communities.
“As a sector, it is my Governments expectation that you will make significant contributions to improve provincial per capita incomes and GDPs,” he said.
Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister, Dr Sithembiso Nyoni, who also attended the indaba said the new policy seeks to create an enabling regulatory environment for emerging enterprises.
She said the policy is centred on 12 pillars which include the provision of work space, infrastructure support and clustering of MSMEs.