Namundjebo-Tilahun calls for a speedy review of SME policy

05 Mar 2014 12:10pm
WINDHOEK, 05 MAR (NAMPA) - The president of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) has called for the review process of the small and medium enterprises’ (SMEs) policy and programmes by the Ministry of Trade and Industry to be sped-up.
Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun made this call during the fifth Sam Nujoma Innovative Enterprises’ Development Awards (SNIEDA) held in the capital on Tuesday.
“We urge the drivers of this review to speed up the process so that we can begin to implement policies and programmes which accelerate growth and competitiveness in the SME sector,” she noted.
The SME sector contributes about 40 per cent to the gross domestic product (GDP).
Namundjebo-Tilahun thus noted that Namibia has a lot of opportunities to do away with joblessness and poverty - if Government and the private sector provide sufficient support to entrepreneurs.
“It is people who dare to take risks and develop businesses who will take us to Vision 2030,” she stated.
The review of the existing SME policy and programmes was launched by Trade and Industry Minister Calle Schlettwein on 14 October 2013.
Schlettwein said as a demonstration of Government’s conviction on the role of the SME sector, a national Small Business Policy and Programme was developed in 1997, and has since been implemented.
“The policy was identified and developed to address the various challenges hampering the effective establishment, operation and growth of the SME sector and its contribution to employment, exports and the country’s GDP,” he submitted.
Schlettwein said the specific challenges identified are in the areas of finance, marketing, technology, infrastructure and entrepreneurial skills.
Specific interventions were developed and implemented to address each of the identified challenges.
The SME support programmes which Government, through the Ministry of Trade and Industry is implementing are borne out of, and are in some cases an expansion of the 1997 Small Business Policy and Programme.
The programmes consist of targeted interventions in areas such as improving access to financing, whereby the Small Business Credit Guarantee Scheme (SBGCT) and the SME Bank were established.
The programmes also include the business sites and premises’ development programme, whereby Government developed affordable basic business infrastructure for leasing by SMEs across the country; and the provision of production equipment and technology, which mainly started with the development of common centres and the current Equipment Aid Scheme.