17 Jul 2014 14:40pm
WINDHOEK, 17 JUL (NAMPA) Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) contribute approximately 12 per cent annually to Namibias Gross Domestic Product (GDP), President Hifikepunye Pohamba says.
In a speech read on his behalf by Minister of Trade and Industry Calle Schlettwein during the Indigenous People's Business Forum (IPBF) gala dinner on Wednesday, Pohamba indicated that the SME sector accounts for one-fifth of Namibia's workforce.
This confirms that the sector has an important role to play in Namibia's economic and development framework, he stated.
The Head of State indicated that it is a source of concern that SMEs continue to encounter difficulties and constraints which prevent them from acquiring the necessary financing, technologies, business know-how, business support and trade linkages required to enable these businesses to succeed.
In order to address these constraints, Government has introduced a number of interventions such as the establishment of the SME Bank, and support programmes through the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN).
He noted that SMEs can play a vital role in the area of manufacturing, and this sector could become a notable force in expanding and strengthening the industrial base of the economy.
In this regard, it is necessary for SMEs to form strategic partnerships with companies from different parts of the world in order to facilitate technology transfer and the acquisition of skills and competencies.
It is imperative that our economy continues to expand in order to achieve higher rates of economic growth with jobs, and thereby overcome the phenomenon of jobless growth, which has been recorded in recent years, he noted.
The government will continue to invest in the expansion of physical and communications infrastructure to bolster the industrial sector, and bring about the needed economic transformation, Pohamba said before calling on financial institutions to provide easy access to capital to enable entrepreneurs to implement their business ideas, or expand their operations.
The IPBF hosted its annual presidential gala dinner in honour of the Head of State in the capital.
During the organisation's Annual General Meeting (AGM) earlier in the day, the IPBF praised Pohamba for his visionary leadership over the past nine years.
The gala dinner is a token of appreciation to Pohamba for maintaining the peace, safety and security we are enjoying in the country today, as well as for maintaining a stable macro-economic environment for the last nine years, IPBF chairperson Albin Ilovu said.
Pohambas term of office ends on 21 March 2015 when he hands over power to the new president, to be elected during the presidential elections in November this year.
Ilovu noted that the gala dinner was the right platform to wish him a well-deserved rest afterwards.
Pohamba, born on 18 August 1935, has been president of Namibia since March 2005.
He won the 2004 election overwhelmingly as the candidate of the Swapo-Party, and was re-elected during the 2009 election.
He has also been the president of Swapo since November 2007.