Query: Ministry of Industrialisation, why do you give equipment aid to those who have equipment already? How about us, the NIMT students, who just finished our courses and want to start our businesses? You should consider the qualification of applicants as criterion to qualify for equipment. We also want to start our businesses, otherwise we will just end up in the street again, especially tailors.
Response: The Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development gives assistance to all SMEs. Business owners need to know and understand that it is not easy to provide assistance to everyone in the same financial year. Due to a large number of applicants, the ministry awards equipment as part of the aid scheme on the basis of the budget allocated for the programme. This is to say, if your application was unsuccessful in the last financial year, try again in the new financial year.
It does not mean when you submit your application it is guaranteed. As a continued effort to enable SME’s to enter the mainstream economy of the country, the ministry continues to award equipment to the country’s 14 regions through its equipment aid programme.
The recipients of this aid are to fully utilise the equipment so that they can also apply for government tenders in the near future and not only for their own benefit, but to enable the country to move towards value addition, while at the same time creating job opportunities.
SMEs play a crucial role in the development of economies all over the world and Namibia is no exception. The ministry is, therefore, set to empower SMEs in every region. Our aim is to strengthen existing ties between the ministry and various SMEs in an effort to encourage an open dialogue between government institutions and the private sector to support my ministry’s “Growth at Home” Strategy.
The government, through the line ministry, launched the Policy and Programme on Small Business Development outlining specific pro-active policy interventions and programmes in 1997. The aim was to address identified key constraints to the growth and development of Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSME) in the country.
However, low productivity came up as a key constraint and the lack of access to appropriate production machinery, technology and inputs was identified as the main cause. This, amongst others, was due to the high cost involved in sourcing or acquiring such technology, machinery and inputs, making it unaffordable for most budding SMEs.
The ministry shall pursue the small business development policy and programme, as this intervention is intended to help budding small entrepreneurs to improve and increase their productive capacities and product quality, in particular, and to enhance business prospects, survival and growth in general.
Elijah Mukubonda, chief corporate communications officer in the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org