Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said Saturday that the government has come up with a number of interventions aimed at supporting the development of the SME in the country.
During her keynote address at the official opening of the Swakopmund Mini SME Expo, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said some of the interventions include financial support to MSMEs in the form of lending, credit guarantee, venture capital and business mentoring.
“SME’s play a vital role in our economy, especially in employment creation. Thus, these initiatives that bring SMEs together to exhibit their products and businesses are fully supported by our Government,” she said.
She also said that she had been informed that over 250 local SME’s are participating in this exposition, with business interests ranging in the areas of manufacturing, agriculture, Art and Crafts, Climate Change Resilience and Science and Technology.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila also applauded the National Youth Council that sponsored five young entrepreneurs from each of our 14 regions to participate in this trade exposition.
This support by the NYC, she said, has provided a unique opportunity to many youth-owned SMEs to access a marketing platform which would otherwise be difficult for them to access.
“Trade expositions are important in promoting businesses and goods and services. Expositions also serve as a great way to network with other industry members and explore markets.
“I thus urge business people, particularly young entrepreneurs, at this trading platform to network and establish business linkages and strategic alliances to grow their business, and get inspiration to innovate new products for domestic and external markets,” she added.
According to Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, SMEs are credited the world over for coming up with innovative products. The sector thus has enormous potential to generate sustainable economic growth, job creation and development of entrepreneurial skills.
“The current estimate of SMEs rate of contribution to Namibia’s GDP is 12 per cent. The Government aims to increase this to 20 per cent by the year 2022. For this to be achieved, diverse efforts by both public and private institutions are required,” she further said.
During the 2017/18 financial year, the PM said, the Development Bank of Namibia approved N$264.0 million that benefited SMEs, with a total of 320 permanent jobs and 349 temporary job opportunities created across several economic sectors. And in 2018, DBN approved loans amounting to N$149.2 million for projects which benefited the youth.
“The government is also seized with efforts to provide for public tenders reservations for SME’s under the Public Procurement Act. This, together with the recently introduced requirement for O/M/A to source goods and services from local companies where available, will provide a market for produce by local enterprises, including SME’s, thereby promoting local enterprise development, stimulating the economy, creating jobs and addressing inequalities by facilitating entry by upcoming entrepreneurs into the mainstream of the economy,” she revealed.