Herald Reporter

Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) should utilise opportunities presented by the Government to grow their business to large corporates.

This was said by Vice President Kembo Mohadi after a familiarisation tour of empowerment programmes at Jumbo Trading Centre and Copacabana Mall in Harare.

The two sites provide employment to more than 2 000 people, the majority of which are women. More than 1 200 people housed at Jumbo Trading Centre are into clothing manufacturing, while 400 traders are selling clothes at Copacabana Mall.

On the need for growth of the SMEs, VP Mohadi said: “This is the progression path that will tip the scale of development to ensure this nation attains the upper middle income status by 2030.”

VP Mohadi commended the SMEs for contributing immensely to the country’s economy under difficult circumstances during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As we gradually open our economy from the lockdown caused by the scourge of Covid-19, we are encouraged to take all necessary precautions against the pandemic as we engage in our economic activities.

“This unique tour has really been an eye opener as I have witnessed the resilience and fortitude of our people even in these challenging times of Covid-19.”

He urged SMEs to be guided by the recently approved National Micro, SMEs Policy 2020-2024 which envisaged an environment characterised by local authorities providing conducive workplaces and financial institutions providing easy access to funds.

“It is hoped that this will reduce the cost of doing business and access to business support services, promoting research, innovation and adoption of quality standards in the SMEs sector,” he said.

VP Mohadi hailed women in business for fending for their families by ensuring access to education, health and social services.

The tour was organised by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small to Medium Enterprises Development.

VP Mohadi was accompanied by Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, Minister of State in his office Davis Marapira, Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Deputy Minister Jennifer Mhlanga and other senior Government officials.

Deputy Minister Mhlanga said there was need to lobby local authorities and the private sector to avail idle industrial premises to SMEs who were struggling to access working spaces.

Mr Gladman Dhliwayo who operates from the Copacabana Mall appealed to Government to provide enough space for traders and Mr Lloyd Bahera, an entrepreneur at Jumbo Trading Centre, said they will complement Government efforts in reviving the economy.