‘85 percent of SMEs yet to be licensed’

ABOUT 85 percent of Small to Medium Enterprises are yet to be licensed by the local authorities, official figures from the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development show. Addressing delegates at the launch of the Informal Sector Formalisation and Co-operative Policy (2005) Review Consultative Processes in Harare last week, the Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development Sithembiso Nyoni said her department was disappointed with the low levels of compliance.

“I cannot overemphasise the importance of SMEs to our country. It is, however, disappointing to note that only 15 percent of these SMEs businesses were licensed with the local authorities.

“This figure shows that 85 percent of SMEs businesses are not registered, reflecting high levels of informality,” said the minister.

“Therefore, it is imperative that the Government, through the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development take the driving seat to formalise the operations of all small and co-operatives in Zimbabwe to promote the growth of this sector.”

Minister Nyoni said her department is defining formalisation of informal enterprises and SMEs not as an imposition of rules or regulatory measures but as recognition of the economic role that this sector is playing, with a view of boosting capacity, growth and contribution of this sector to economy.

She added that formalisation will help local SMEs access regional and global markets.

“Formalisation can be viewed as transition from the informal to the formal sector in Zimbabwe. The ministry is aware that for our small and medium businesses to access regional and international markets, and benefit from preferential trade agreements that we are party to, there is need for registration processes as well as quality validation of products.”

Meanwhile, the ministry is also reviewing the Co-operative Policy of 2005. Consultative workshops will commence from February 29 to March 18, in all the country’s provinces. — BH24.

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