India seeks to boost local SMEs

India said it is ready to assist local Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by modernising and equipping them with vital skills for increased production.

Addressing SMEs at Best Cooperative in Harare on Monday, Indian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Shri Masakui said his country was committed to provide state-of-the-art machines with capacity to increase efficiency in the manufacturing sector.

“This is a good initiative that the SMEs are doing and we are not hesitating to provide them with the necessary equipment to produce their products.

“SMEs are not supposed to be marginalised because they play a significant role in the development of any country, hence the government should support them,” Masakui added.

The Indian envoy noted that more local SMEs were invited to attend a training programme on new methods of manufacturing certain products using local resources and helping to reduce the import bill.

SMEs minister Sithembiso Nyoni, who accompanied Masakui during a tour of emerging businesses in Harare, said 27 SMEs that were trained early this year managed to transmit knowledge to their peers to produce good and quality products such as marmalade jam, tomato source and dried vegetable.

“The incubation centre trained a number of SMEs in business skills which include manufacturing toilet paper, drinking juices, roofing material and office material and I am…that they have managed to teach other people to make those products using our own resources.

“SMEs are important economic players in Zimbabwe and the world at large, and as government we stand with them by supporting them,” Nyoni said.

The minister noted that SMEs should now be taught the art of branding to ensure that their products compete on both the local and international markets.

She added that funding continues to be a major challenge to the sector as most SMEs cannot afford to buy modern machinery to manufacture products in large amounts.

Speaking at the same event, Best Cooperative chairman Joshua Mubvekeri said SMEs face a number of challenges including expensive packaging and lack of capital for retooling.

“Our production rate is very slow because we do everything manually and if government helps us with machines we will be able to produce a number of goods that can serve the whole nation,” he added. —
Bianca Rugeje

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