Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country are lobbying for the establishment of an SMEs council that will be mandated to oversee the sector’s development to spur national economic growth.
National Small and Medium Enterprises (Nasme) coordinator William Mwale said in an interview that as government is crafting the SMEs Bill, one of the things to be included should be the establishment of the SMEs council.
His sentiments come following the approval of the reviewed 1997 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (Msme) Policy by Cabinet. The policy seeks to guide the affairs of the SMEs sector which is being followed by the crafting of the Bill.
“It is going to be effective for us to operate freely and we are excited about it. The development of the SMEs has been sporadically spread and in the districts, (some) district commissioners and heads of departments do not recognise the importance of SMEs development in their districts and trading centres,” said Mwale.
Among others, Mwale said SMEs proposed the setting up of industrial estates and parks besides negotiating for a special low bank interest rate for enterprises intending to borrow money as start-up capital.
Director of SMEs Development in the Ministry of Industry Trade and Tourism, Wiskies Nkombezi, said the review of the policy was necessary as there are a lot of things that have changed since the establishment of the Msme Policy in 1997.
He said it was difficult to come up with a Bill without a sound and updated policy; hence, the approved policy by Cabinet facilitated the formulation of the bill which is expected to be presented in the next Parliament for consideration.
According to the ministry, SMEs sector constitutes about 80 percent of the business.