Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
STATE-owned mobile telecommunications firm, NetOne, has come up with a programme to capacitate 500 Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across the country and help them create jobs in the next few months.
In an interview in Bulawayo on the sidelines of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) Matabeleland region annual awards held at a local hotel on Friday, NetOne chief executive officer Mr Lazarus Muchenje said his company was strategically positioned to contribute to job creation in the country.
“With regards to 500 small to medium enterprises, we are looking at covering most of the townships in the whole country where we are going to identify at least one.
“We are getting $71 million from the China EximBank, which is facilitated by the Government of Zimbabwe.
“So, we will work with these guys by giving them incentives on how to create business and we will work with them to find right business models,” he said.
Mr Muchenje said the funding from China EximBank would also be used to expand NetOne’s internet services both 3G and 4G in major cities and rural areas where people might not have internet services.
“Its concessional loans where the Government is going to guarantee those loans and we will be using those funds to expand our internet services.
“You might be aware that we have the widest coverage on 3G and 4G and we want to make that even more comprehensive,” he said.
“When President Mnangagwa was in China recently that’s one of the deals that were approved between the two presidents and we are in the process of finalising that and there are few documents that we need to go through and work with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.
“We believe in the next two, three months we should be looking at those funds flowing.”
Last year, the mobile telecommunications company hired 20 000 brand ambassadors across the country with each province creating 2 000 jobs.
The brand ambassadors were recruited to sell the firm’s new products and services to the market.
NetOne is on a drive to reach out and penetrate every part of Zimbabwe including remote areas.