Harare (New Ziana)-The government is moving to ensure small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have decent trading spaces which are also safe from disasters.
Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni said this in the capital during a media briefing on Thursday.
She said the government was concerned with the challenges that SMEs were experiencing, especially in Harare Metropolitan province, regarding access to appropriate, affordable and modern workspaces.
“These challenges have manifested themselves in the recent disturbances at the Mupedzanhamo Market and also at the Glenview Furniture Complex, where fire incidences have occurred twice over the last two months and destroyed up to 90 percent of the traders’ wares and equipment,” she said.
Nyoni said the government had started engaging major stakeholders with a view to re-organise and modernise facilities at SME workspaces.
“The government has engaged the SMEs Associations who have expressed their readiness to cooperate with it and the local authority to bring sanity at their work sites,” she said.
She noted that the Mupedzanhamo Flea Market had one tap connected to the City Council water system, saying there was need to install more water points before it could be re-opened.
“A recent assessment of Mupedzanhamo Market showed that there is need to renovate and refurbish the facilities before re-occupation. There is need to clean the market by removing heaps of rubbish. There is also need to construct additional toilets for the 1 500 traders,” she said.
The government, she said, had engaged Pension Funds and the private sector to partner it on these initiatives and the institutions had expressed willingness to work with it in renovating existing or putting up new modern workspaces for the sector.
Nyoni warned space barons that they would be dealt with in the programme that the government was undertaking.
“The initiatives being taken include eliminating space barons who have unlawfully occupied open spaces and are interfering with SME operations across the city,” she said.
Through the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), the government has made it clear that the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector was crucial in promoting employment creation and inclusive growth.
The MSME sector has become the safety net and source of livelihoods for many, as it employs more than 4.8 million full-time people as specified by the ZIMSTAT 2021 National MSME Survey Report.