N$14m spent on SMEs

Approximately N$14 million has been spent on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) since the beginning of the year, Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development Immanuel Ngatjizeko revealed.
In an interview with The Villager, Ngatjizeko said through SME support programmes such as the Business Support Service Programme (BSSP), the ministry assisted 420 SMEs to the value of N$14 million.
“The ministry set up the BSSP to assist entrepreneurs to conduct feasibility studies, develop business plans and enhance business skills through hands-on training, including business monitoring and mentoring”, he said.
 Ngatjizeko added that BSSP is available to all entrepreneurs countrywide, with special focus to be given to Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) to be developed into successful ventures as an alternative source of productive income.
“The success of this entrepreneurship development programme and creating job opportunities for Namibians will contribute to national development, in line with the aspirations of Vison 2030”, the minister stated.
In addition, an action plan for implementing the Growth-at-Home strategy for industrialisation has been developed and finalised on 30 June 2015.
Namibia’s Growth-at-Home strategy reinforces the importance of accelerating economic growth, reducing income inequality and increasing employment.
The strategy seeks to accomplish the Cabinet-approved Industrial Policy, which was ratified by parliament in 2012 and is geared to attaining the strategic objectives for manufacturing as outlined in the National Development Plan 4 (NDP4).
The Growth-at-Home strategy focuses on three strategic intervention areas, including supporting value-addition, upgrading and diversification for sustained growth; securing market access at home and abroad; and improving the investment climate and conditions.
The report further states that interventions aimed at supporting value-addition will promote and provide a needs-oriented and comprehensive support mechanism to industrial development and the upgrading of projects, which will contribute towards structural transformation of the Namibian economy and enhance domestic value-addition.
Meanwhile, interventions on promoting market access at home and abroad will stimulate the development of local industries by utilizing the potential of local procurement measures, and by generating synergies between local producers and large retailers.
Another main focus under this strategic area will be creating conditions which will boost Namibian exports, as well as the capacity of Namibian firms to supply and export goods on a competitive level.
According to the report, the strategic area will also explore the extension of infant industry protection for industries with high growth and employment-creation potential on a case-by-case basis, which could take the form of tariff protection and other supportive measures, including targeted incentives and public procurement.
Furthermore, interventions aimed at improving the investment climate will focus on improving the institutional environment, in particular the availability of skilled labour, as well as the provision of land, sites and premises for businesses.
These interventions recognise the vital role that SMEs play in the country’s industrialisation and socio-economic development.
Meanwhile, Ngatjizeko said a new Investment Promotion Bill which will replace the current Foreign Investment Act, as well as the Bill to establish the Namibian Industrial Development Agency (NIDA) which will replace the current Namibia Development Corporation and Offshore Development Company have been presented to the Cabinet Committee on Legislation (CCL).