Small and Medium Enterprises Development Institute (Smedi) has said its newly-launched service charter will promote efficiency and effective delivery of services.
Smedi chief executive officer Rhodrick Chattaika said in Lilongwe on Friday that the charter is an assurance to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that the institution will offer some of its services for free as it strives to develop small businesses.
He said: “People don’t know that there are other services which are free so that SMEs can easily access these services to develop their businesses without worrying that they cannot do certain things because of finances.
“We will, for example, help them for free with the registration of their businesses, training services except where there is a specific training that is demanded by an SME. But generally, training such as preparing of a business proposal, helping them accessing the markets, among others, remain free.
Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism director of SMEs development Wiskies Nkombezi described the charter as a social contract with its clients.
He said Smedi needed to come up with a charter that informs the public what they should expect in terms of its services and how much fees they can pay for certain services.
“In many cases when public services are being delivered, there are people who may not know what to expect from that public agency and what fees are applicable.
“For example, on the import and export licences, the ministry does not charge anything but we hear of stories where people are duped so that is exactly the reason we encourage the agencies to publicise the fees that they charge as well as the free services,” he said.
The charter has also established a conflict handling committee to oversee disputes. n