The Chamber for Small and Medium Businesses Association says it will name and shame some government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) who are rigid in complying with the SME Order that compels them to award certain business in government.
Ministry of Trade gazetted the SME Order in December 2020 to empower local small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The chamber’s executive secretary James Chiutsi said while some SMEs have started benefiting from the order, some MDAs are frustrating small businesses.
He said: “Some MDAs have not started following the order yet. There is need to sensitise the MDAs, including the SMEs because not all are aware of the order.
“But for those MDAs in the know and are working on frustrating implementation of this order, we will name and shame them. Suffice to say that one can pay a fine or be jailed for violating the order.”
Black Indigenous Business Network chairperson Kettie Kamwangala also shared Chiutsi’s frustrations that only a few MDAs are respecting the order.
“We acknowledge a few MDAs who are complying and we are warning others who are yet to embrace the SMEs order,” she said.
The SME Order, gazetted on December 14 2020, provides a list of basic government businesses to benefit locals and encourages more small businesses operating informally to formalise their businesses and help to broaden the country’s tax base.
Minister of Trade Sosten Gwengwe said the order was necessary because government noted that SMEs were facing bottlenecks in conducting business with MDAs, which among other things, included stiff competition from big businesses.