GOVERNMENT say it will release a National, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) policy covering the period 2020 to 2024 in the next six months.

Speaking to NewsDay Business on the sidelines of a validation workshop for the MSME Draft Policy 2020-2024 in Harare yesterday, Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development permanent secretary Melusi Matshiya said SMEs were a key player in sustaining the economy.

“It (MSME 2020-2024 policy) has to be done, I should say in the next six months. I would want to push for that. Once the validation with the consultants have been done, I will now need my minister to take it to Cabinet. There is this symbiotic relationship between the mainstream industry and SMEs that are now the bedrock of economic development,” he said.

“So, it is a two-way process where we may aim high, but as we get more resources to capitalise the SMEs or the medium level they graduate into what one might say is the mainstream industry. This is an industry which could attract capital, investment, from banks externally et cera et cera and these (SMEs) will be able to drive themselves as entities.”

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Government worked with local company, Africa Corporate Advisory, in crafting the draft policy with the European Union (EU) providing technical and financial assistance.

The draft policy has been designed to complement other national, regional and international policy frameworks in line with government’s vision for an upper middle-income economy by 2030.

This comes as it is estimated that SMEs employ most of the workforce in the private sector with the sector contributing 60% of the country’s gross domestic product.

“The EU stands ready to accompany Zimbabwe in the successful implementation of this new policy. The process in formulating the MSME policy is financially supported by the EU through the EU EPA Support Project (Zepa). Moreover, under the Zepa project two grant contracts worth €2,5 million each have recently been signed,” EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Timo Olkkonen, said.

“They target support to increased productivity and competitiveness of MSMEs in selected value chains. They also seek to strengthen the capacity of business support organisations relevant to chosen value chains to deliver services to the MSME actors. The technical assistance component of the Zepa (Zimbabwe Economic Partnership Agreement) project has resources to provide further assistance to the sector on a demand-driven basis.”