SMEs Should Be Allowed More Joint Ventures

The president of the Namibian Small and Medium Enterprise Forum (NASMEF), Maleachie Ilongo, says more opportunities should be availed to SMEs so that they contribute more to the country’s development.

He says government alone cannot create jobs, therefore SMEs should be assisted in such a way they don’t end up as mere “sub-subcontractors” but also land bigger projects and in that way create more jobs.

Ilonga was speaking during the NASMEF annual conference held in Karibib on Thursday.

Ilonga says municipalities and councils should also avail land or make finances available to construct SME-friendly facilities in their towns.

“We can’t run projects without land, and should be given land to do business, especially in rural areas that the government wants to develop. That is the only way that SMEs can grow and employ more people. We need space for our people,” rallied the head of NASMEF.

He says those selling goods in the streets are often criticised or labelled as dirtying towns.

“This should not be the case. These people should be given moral support and a conducive environment to create business, employ more people and gradually become bigger businesses,” he said. He urged government to also relook the country’s procurement policy, saying SMEs also want to lobby for joint ventures for their own empowerment.

“If a tender is out for N$600 million at least 20 SMEs should benefit from it by forming joint ventures and employing local people.

“Currently we cannot even tender for big projects, but if we form joint ventures this can become a reality and we can move away from the current practice whereby big companies land contracts and the SMEs are subcontracted to do the donkey jobs and get paid peanuts,” he lamented.

According to him some large contractors do not even visit the projects and will only show up when the project is handed over to the government.

“Let us share and spread our wealth equally. Only then SMEs will have a greater future and play a much bigger role in poverty and unemployment reduction,” he said.

Source : New Era