Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday launched the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Policy 2020-2024 aimed at ensuring that the businesses are included in the national development agenda for the country to realise an upper middle-income status by 2030.
Addressing MSMEs during the recognition awards, graduation and MSMEs Policy 2020-2024 launch, President Mnangagwa said to achieve the envisaged targets, Government has developed a revised policy.
He said MSMEs play a critical role in the development of the country.
The Second Republic, the President said, recognises the critical role played by MSMEs in job creation, empowerment, wealth generation and the economy as a whole adding that there is therefore a need for MSMEs to have clear, achievable benchmarks laid out in tandem with the National Vision 2030.
To show support for the sector, the 2021 National Budget saw the allocation of $1billion to the MSMEs so that they are empowered to grow their businesses.
The MSME Policy 2020-2024, the President said, will ensure that the MSMEs sector makes meaningful contributions towards the achievement of the upper middle-income economy by 2030.
“The policy seeks to enhance production, 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 formalisation of MSME’s remains critical hence closer coordination and synergies are essential between the sector and various Government departments such as the Registrar of Companies, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and local authorities among others.
“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 youth,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said as the country forges ahead and implements the National Development Strategy 1, the sector must implement robust strategies for growth, 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.
In this regard, the President said partnerships and networks must be established and nurtured with business chambers from beyond the country’s borders.
“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.
President Mnangagwa urged MSMEs to shift their paradigm in tandem with the new realities in terms of the national development agenda and the new normal necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“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,” he said.
“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 to spur the growth of the sector.”
President Mnangagwa said the 2021 people centred National Budget saw the allocation of an unprecedented $1billion to the MSMEs through empowerment entities such as the Women’s Micro Finance Bank, Small and Medium Development Corporation, Women Development Fund and the Community Development Fund.
“A further $2 billion was allocated to the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development. I urge you as a sector to ride on this resource allocation by fully and effectively utilising funding availed to the sector to drive new quality product development, penetrate new market segments and create a domestic sustainable industrial base for our country.
I also urge the sector to think big and to be ready for the anticipated opportunities from enhanced intra- Africa trade under the auspices of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said it was also pleasing to note that MSMEs 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 sector’s competitiveness, consistent product quality and customer confidence. We look forward to more SMEs achieving SAZ certification,” he said.
The President said the National Development Strategy 1 entails that SMEs play a more pronounced role in employment creation and the establishment of rural industry systems through the usage of local resources found within communities.
“As a sector, it is my Government’s expectation that you will make significant contributions to improve provincial per capita incomes and GDP (gross domestic product),” he said.