By: Eba Kandovazu
Oshikoto governor Penda ya Ndakolo says that various stakeholders provided over N$ 4.7 million to uplift SMEs in the region and bring about economic advancement.
He was speaking at the state of the region address on Wednesday when he said agricultural-based enterprises and start-ups provide, not only jobs, but also food for the community.
He said part of the money was used at the the Okashana Rural Development Center, which focuses on assisting rural SMEs and has worked hard during the period under review to improve the quality of life and economic well-being of the region’s farmers and SMEs.
“The centre has conducted different community outreach services, including training 228 farmers in various areas to contribute to food security, income generation and employment creation. In addition, the centre also manufactured and sold appropriate technology products at an affordable price to boost the region’s economic activity. Similarly, the Income Generating Activity program under the ministry of gender equality, poverty eradication and social welfare provided materials worth N$98,602 to four rural projects,” ya Ndakolo stated.
He said the beneficiaries are in tailoring, brickmaking, and milling businesses, respectively. The program, he stressed, was established to contribute to the socio-economic empowerment of the less privileged by encouraging community members, particularly women, to create self-employment and employment for others.
He added that the National Youth Council provided N$150,000 in equipment aid grants to six entrepreneurs from Oshikoto region, intended to assist youth in business to expand their businesses and generate additional employment opportunities. He said the Oniipa Town Council has constructed a hawking shelter valued at N$200 000 at the Onandjokwe open market.
He says the shelter will allow former street vendors to sell their products in a safe and clean environment.
“Furthermore, Omuthiya Town Council has also set aside N$3 million for the construction of phase two of the open market, which will commence this financial year,” he added.
According to ya Ndakolo, the industrialisation, trade, and SME development ministry is busy building the Tsumeb Industrial Park, which will be used for light industrial activities, including joinery, carpentry, and tailoring. 12 units for SMEs will be available. A total of N$19 million has been spent so far.
He maintained that Dundee precious metals in collaboration with the Tsumeb municipality, constructed air gyms, the museum and the SME Park in Tsumeb Central Business District.
“Through the Micro-grant pilot program, Dundee Precious Metals, in cooperation with SME Compete, provided micro-grants to 20 enterprises. A total of N$ 200 000 has been awarded. In addition, Dundee and the Community of Tsumeb signed a three-year partnership agreement to the value of N$ 3 million. The agreement is intended to benefit the community’s most disadvantaged people, with agricultural projects receiving priority funding. The annual investment will be N$1 million,” the governor said.