SMEs contribute US$8,2bn to GDP Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Constantino Chiwenga (right), presents a certificate to Genesis Travel and tours chief executive Ms Chiedza Chikomo during a graduation ceremony of Small and Medium Enterprise held in Harare yesterday. - Picture: Joseph Manditswara

Trust Freddy Herald Correspondent

The huge sector of the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that provides a living for so many last year added US$8,2 billion to the national Gross Domestic Product, a recent survey has found, with the double thrust now on formalising more of these businesses.

While each business might be small, there are a lot of them, hence the huge total, and even more spectacularly between them they provide a full-time living to 4,8 million people.

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga yesterday at an SMEs recognition and graduation ceremony in Harare where he was guest of honour made it clear that he saw this vast sector as a major strand of economic growth and poverty reduction.

“According to the 2022 Finscope SME survey, micro, small and medium enterprises contributed US$8,2 billion to national Gross Domestic Product,” said Dr Chiwenga.

“The sector has also grown to become the bedrock of economic growth and poverty reduction.

“It is pleasing to note that of the 4,8 million full-time employees in the sector, women constituted the majority at 52,1 percent.”

The greater participation by women in the MSMEs sector, said Dr Chiwenga, dovetails with the Government’s thrust of ensuring participation of excluded groups, especially women, in the economic development of the country in line with President Mnangagwa’s mantra of leaving no one and no place behind.

VP Chiwenga said the Government was determined to capacitate the MSMEs sector into one that is more innovative, to promote balanced growth throughout the country.

“It is gratifying to note that the graduation and recognition awards that we are witnessing today are a result of the support being rendered to MSMEs by the Government and the various stakeholders.

“Government and its partners will thus continue to provide the necessary assistance to ensure continued development of the sector,” he said.

Dr Chiwenga also implored MSMEs, Government departments and other key stakeholders to work together towards finding solutions to the challenges facing the sector.

On their part, MSMEs were urged to fully use the opportunities presented to them by the Government and other partners.

“Formalisation is critical for the growth of your businesses as it creates opportunities for fostering links with peer MSMEs, business support, service providers, big corporates and financial institutions.

“It is also vital in building trust and good relationships which are important attributes in catalysing the growth of your business operations.”

Given their versatility, MSMEs had the potential to significantly contribute towards Zimbabwe’s productive capacity and the targeted exports of US$14 billion by 2030, but that could only happen if they were supported, said Dr Chiwenga.

Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister Dr Sithembiso Nyoni said the graduation and recognition of MSMEs would motivate other enterprises to improve their business operations, thereby encouraging full participation of MSMEs in economic development.

“MSMEs play an important role in the development of our economy as they have become a driving force in terms of employment creation, innovation adaptability.

“This process we are in today is part of the Ministry’s drive and thrust to formalise the informal sector and to organise the informal SMEs at all levels for their growth,” she said.

“I urge all stakeholders to upscale their support, and interventions to enable SMEs to play a leading role in economic development.”

Yesterday, 142 MSMEs in Harare Province graduated after the ministry was satisfied that their businesses had grown and needed to go to the next stage.

Graduating businesses were moving from micro to small to medium and to large categories.

Twelve SMES graduated to medium enterprises while three made it to the large enterprises, with 127 graduating to small enterprises.

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