Over 1,700 SMEs have benefited from Ministry of Trade and Industry’s EAS

WINDHOEK: Over 1 700 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have benefited from the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s Equipment Aid Scheme (EAS) since its inception during the 2009/10 financial year.

The scheme was established to address some challenges facing SMEs such as the acquisition of production equipment.

The Deputy Director of Business, Entrepreneurial Development and Promotion in the Trade Ministry, Diina Nashidengo said about N.dollars 67 million has been spent on the programme thus far.

She told Nampa yesterday that the overall objective of the scheme is to reduce SMEs’ cost of business set up and operation, while assisting them to expand in order to increase output.

The scheme aims to provide production equipment and input to qualifying SMEs on affordable lease or donation (free of cost) basis, especially during the start-up phase of the business.

It also offers business development services in areas such as business management, product design, development, quality and marketing, business linkages; while also providing facilitation of market access and linkages to large retail and distribution outlets.

Preference is given to labour-intensive manufacturing and value-addition industries with special focus on garment and textiles, gemstone cutting and polishing, furniture and cabinet making, leather products, meat processing, agro-based industries, fish processing, building materials and metal fabrication.