Call to Build Appropriate Infrastructure for SMEs

Local authorities and developmental partners must build appropriate and affordable premises for small to medium enterprises (SMEs), Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni said yesterday on the sidelines of her ministry’s strategic planning workshop in Harare for 2021 to 2023.

Most of SMEs operating from undesignated areas were affected during the lockdown after their stalls were demolished.

“As a ministry we have done very well especially with regards to SMEs and vendors who have been able to organise themselves and fumigate their operating places and are sanitising and taking temperatures of their customers,” she said.

But local authorities also had to play their part in improving the infrastructure. “I would like to say to the local authorities and our developmental partners that time had come for them to build good, affordable, appropriate infrastructure where SMEs will be operating from.

“Therefore, it is upon us to work for them and support them and accelerate this development so that our SMEs can work in dignified areas,” she said.

Minister Nyoni said she was happy that some ministers of state and some few local authorities had started working hand in hand with the ministry in building infrastructure for SMEs in places like Chivhu, Gweru and Epworth. While addressing stakeholders at the workshop Minister Nyoni said it was time to ensure that the new strategies complement existing policies.

“This workshop is set to come up with strategies or programmes, anchored on the National Development Strategy, that deliver the ministry’s mandate in the next three years.

“We want people to be real and come up with tangible programmes that are specific on what needs to be done and where. If we do not marry the policies and the strategic plans we will not be able to co-ordinate and deliver to the people.”

While the workshop was important in many ways it gave them an opportunity to reflect on a period the Covid-19 pandemic that hit communities, and not only exacerbated existing challenges but presented new additional unanticipated challenges in its wake.

The objective of the workshop which ends today was also to develop the permanent secretary’s 2021 performance contract, come up with 2021-2023 budget estimates, and the 2021 programme strategic performance plans.

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