The Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development (MITSMED) purchased equipment worth over N$16 million under the Equipment Aid Scheme (EAS) for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the 2015/16 financial year.
The EAS is meant to provide assistance in the form of equipment and other technology to SMEs. This intervention is aimed at boosting the production capacity of the informal and formal the sectors by assisting SMEs to acquire production equipment and technologies in order for them to effectively run their businesses and subsequently create employment.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary of MITSMED Michael Humavindu said that most equipment purchased for this year are meant for the manufacturing, value adding, food processing, construction, horticulture and services sectors but the ministry looks at different requirements to qualify for the EAS.
“Sectors of consideration are, manufacturing, food processing, value addition, garment and engraving printing services, automotive , refrigeration services electrical and welding services, gemstones processing , pharmaceutical and chemicals, plastic and poultry, ” Humavindu said.
He added that interested SME’s that are already involved in those sectors should apply by completing an EAS form that can be obtained from the Ministry.
Company registration, three quotations from three different suppliers and business proposals, profile and applicants qualifications are needed to qualify for EAS, The Villager understands.
“Business should be hundred percent owned by Namibia citizens mandatory and the applicant must be eighteen years and more. Business should be registered with the MITSMED and there must be a proof of qualification and experience in preferred business,”Humavindu said.
He added that promoters should provide good standing certificates from Social Security Commission (SSC) to track employment creation in the long run while interested parties do no need to submit brief business proposals or company profiles for this exercise.
Humavindu said the business should be operational for at least twelve months and the requested amount for equipment to be purchased should not exceed the amount of N$50 000 per applicant. This amount is only allocated for this 2016/17 financial year.
In the 2015/16 financial year top three regions that benefited the most in terms of value of equipment are Oshikoto (N$1,809 977) , //Karas (N$1,463 986) and the Hardap (N$1,395 824) and the regions were most Namibians benefited from the EAS are Otjozondjupa (29), Kavango (20) and Kunene (27).
In the 2014/15 financial year 743 regions applicants were approved and the value of the equipment purchased was worth N$65, 576, 685 to SME in all 14 regions.
Over a 154 entrepreneurs were assisted with entrepreneurial training, workshops as well as mentorship services covering various aspects on fashion design tailoring product development, marketing and general business management.
Five SMEs were assisted with feasibility studies in the areas of cooking oil production, silica, sand sanitary and paper towel manufacturing and general business management.
Since the implementation of the scheme, the ministry has not made any follow up with beneficiaries to assess the success of the donation made.
“Only this year will we look at the impact evaluation policy that has been put in place. We have not traced the beneficiaries the progress made since the scheme was introduced. Therefore I cannot say whether the beneficiaries are still in possession of this equipment and also what challenges they have in terms of handling and maintaining the equipment. An independent evaluation entity will be tasked to collect all data to record on the progress of beneficiaries and handling of equipment they received from the equipment aid schemes,” Humavindu added.
In 2008 cabinet by decision no 23rd/09.12.08/010 resolved to give attention to the socio economic plight of the people in the South to address unemployment, poverty and hopelessness in these regions. As a response to this decision, the MTISMD was directed to focus on encouraging the establishment of more industries in the South, with a view of promoting employment creation and skills development to promote micro lending in the Hardap and //Karas region.