N$2 Million Equipment Aid for Erongo

As a continued effort to enable Small and Meduim Enterprises (SME’s) to enter the mainstream economy of the country, 48 SME’s in the Erongo region, were awarded equipment to the value of N$2 million by the Ministry of Trade and Industry through its equipment aid programme.

The recipients received sewing machines, carpentry and joinery equipment, brick as well as bread making equipment, tailoring machines, metal bending, wood cutting and construction equipment from the Minister of Trade and Industry, Calle Schlettwein, on Tuesday in Swakopmund.

Twenty-one entrepreneurs received the approval letters for equipment that would be ordered by the Ministry, 8 entrepreneurs has already been procured and will be delivered to them later, 14 entrepreneurs have already received their equipment while 5 entrepreneurs receive their equipment yesterday.

Schlettwein, during his address encouraged the recipients to fully utilize the equipment so that they can also apply for government tenders in the near future. He added this will not only be for their own benefit but will allow the country to move towards value addition while at the same time creating job oppertunities.

“SMEs play a crucial role in the development of economies all over the world and Namibia is no exception. We are therefore set to empower various SMEs in this 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 minister explained.

He then told the entrepreneurs that they should strategise to successfully graduate from being mere SME’s to becoming large and competitive Namibian companies.

According to Schlettwein, a large section of Namibia’s most disaantaged population is engaged in micro, small and medium scale businesses, hence government recognises the vital role such small business sector plays toward the country’s socio-economic development.

“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,” Schlettwein said.

He then explained that the high costs are not only due to the high direct purchase costs, but also the high cost of access to financing from financial institutions and business capital. “My 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,” the minister explained. He added that to ensure that this intervention will have the desired impact, the ministry will ensure that the beneficiaries are given training on the use of the equipment and that their activities are also monitored.

Schlettwein also said that they will also be assisted other requisite business development support services that are offered through the ministry’s Entrepreneurship Development and Nationwide Common Facility Centre Programmes.

Source : New Era