07 Dec 2013 11:40am
KEETMANSHOOP, 07 DEC (NAMPA) More than 20 women from the //Karas Region were empowered by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) when they received equipment to start and grow their own businesses.
Of the 51 beneficiaries who received equipment here on Friday through the ministrys Equipment Aid Scheme, 27 were women.
The distributed equipment is worth N.dollars 4 million.
In 2012, 27 beneficiaries from the region also benefited from the same initiative aimed at empowerment and employment creation.
The beneficiaries received equipment ranging from bakery equipment and ice cream machines to musical instruments and laundry and construction equipment.
Speaking to Nampa shortly after the handing-over ceremony, Deputy Minister of Trade Tjekero Tweya said though it was not the direct intention of the ministry to help more women than men, it is indeed a good way to empower women.
The majority of the population in Namibia is women; many of them are housewives because they are unemployed. There is no need for us to always exclude the majority with excuses, therefore more women were considered for empowerment, Tweya said.
The deputy minister stressed that Government will ensure that the equipment is used for its intended purpose through constant support in the form of mentorship and training, amongst other support systems.
He further urged the beneficiaries to always bear in mind that the aim of the scheme is to create employment and economic growth.
Small businesses should not only be about kapana (roasted meat) and kambashu (shebeen). We must also branch out into other forms of businesses. Our businesses should grow and create wealth, Tweya said.
Approached for an update on the progress of last years beneficiaries, Julia Mungunda, the principal economist in the Directorate of Industrial Development in the MTI said many of the beneficiaries are progressing well.
At first a lot of beneficiaries were not doing well due to challenges such as start-up capital or lack of materials. But they started doing very well after we reminded them that we will withdraw the equipment, she stated.
Mungunda said a lot of people, especially women in //Karas, are now running very good businesses with equipment such as embroidery machines and have employed other people.
The ministry has also distributed fabric from the former Ramatex textile factory to all beneficiaries of sewing machines in all regions. This has boosted their production and morale, she noted.