‘SMEs must claim stake in national tenders’

Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter

GOVERNMENT and the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) are set to roll out campaigns to conscientise small-to-medium enterprises about procurement regulations, which provide for 25 percent of any national tenders to players in the sector.

Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister, Dr Sithembiso Nyoni, said despite forming the majority of economic sectors in the country, SMEs tend to be left behind on national procurement tenders.

“SMEs form the majority of economic actors in this country and when there are Government tenders, they tend to be left behind. Fortunately, there is the SMEs Act, which states that 25 percent of any national procurement should be given to SMEs,” she said.

“What the ministry has done is to approach the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe to work with us and they are helping us as a ministry to have an outreach so that we sensitise SMEs that when there are tenders for public procurement out there, they should apply.”

Minister Nyoni said SMEs should make sure that 25 percent of the national procurement projects were given to them and if not, they should appeal as the law requires them to participate. The SMEs sector plays a key role in the development of Zimbabwe’s economy contributing over 60 percent to the Gross Domestic Product and employing over 75 percent of the total workforce.

To ensure that entrepreneurs in the sector secure national tenders, the Government has initiatives meant to encourage the informal sector to formalise their operations. 

Formalisation of the informal sector has been identified as a key growth and brand creation, which upholds SMEs to curb corrupt tendencies by business enterprises.

Of late, SMEs were receiving limited support thereby presenting a logjam to their chances of conformity to tender procedures and maintaining standards. 

According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe annual report 2018, SMEs have limited access to finance with only 3,94 percent of total bank loans having been advanced to the sector last year.

SMEs require financial support in the form of working capital for retooling on account that a number of them have antiquated machinery that works against economies of scale. @okazunga

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