GOVERNMENT will early next month launch a five-year strategic plan for small to medium enterprises aimed at boosting operations of the sector.
SMEs Development Minister Mrs Sithembiso Nyoni said that the strategic plan would strive to address some of the challenges facing SMEs.
Lack of funding, limited access to land, poor infrastructure and strict council by-laws were some of the challenges constraining SMEs.
“We have already finalised and approved the strategic plan and expect to launch it anytime soon,” Mrs Nyoni said.
“The launch should take place early next month,” she added.
She said the strategic plan would, among other things, deal with the socio-economic and legal problems affecting the sector.
“We intend to involve the local authorities to be our core partners in terms of providing land and the necessary infrastructure to SMEs,” she said, adding that without adequate working space and proper infrastructure, the industry was bound to fail.
Mrs Nyoni said access to finance was also another key issue that was critical for the sector.
She said SMEs were under-funded and the current hyperinflationary environment, coupled with the economic challenges facing Zimbabwe, had made it very difficult for them to get funding from the banks.
“We need to set the right and conducive environment for our SMEs to work in and prosper,” she said.
There was need for relevant authorities such as the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development to work together in improving operating conditions for SMEs.
The SMEs sector has been credited for playing a pivotal role in sustaining Zimbabwe’s economy, especially now when the country is faced with numerous economic challenges.
Meanwhile, Mrs Nyoni said the 2009 National Budget set for today should address some of the challenges facing SMEs.
“We look forward to the budget and hope it takes care of our problems such as improved access to funds,” she said.