Saturday 2018-05-26

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GOVERNMENT WILLING TO PROVIDE INCENTIVES FOR SME SECTOR GROWTH

By Hlengiwe Ndlovu | 2018-02-13

GOVERNMENT is exploring ways  to support the country’s Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises according to Director of Services in the Ministry of Finance Thabsile Mlangeni yesterday affirmed in the official opening of a Public Private Partnerships in MSMEs and Project Finance Seminar held at the Royal Swazi Sun Hotel.

Professor Paul Kibuuka, who is currently an Associate Professor and Head of Economics and Public Finance at the University of South Africa (UNISA), and former Managing Director of the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) is lead facilitator in the three day seminar hosted by the ministry of finance’s micro finance unit.

“We believe that as government we can provide a number of incentives to enable the SME sector to flourish,” she said, adding that one such incentive includes involve SMEs in PPPs while their potential to have access to quality financial services is harnessed.

The seminar is attended by Town Clerks from different municipalities, representatives from different organisations such as SIDC, NIDCS, financial institutions and others.

Mlangeni highlighted the benefits of PPPs to the SME sector as improving access to finance, cost of production development, faster product development, and facilitation of product acceptability by consumers, the efficient use of resources and others.

“The National Development Strategy emphasises the need to promote the development of the MSME sector to better contribute to macro-economic development,” she said, adding that the Doing Business Report of 2012 had identified the major constraints of business start-ups in Swaziland as being access to finance, soft infrastructure such as telecommunications, internet and the inefficient government bureaucracy.

She highlighted this as being further affirmed by the United Nations Development Programme in a 2012 report which shows that 57 per cent of the adult population in Swaziland relied on friends and relatives to start their own businesses and the MSME survey of 2017 which states that only 11 per cent borrow from banks.

“This is the plight faced by the sector which is considered the lifeblood of the economy.

“We can state many reasons that are a hindrance to the growth of the sector, but until everyone makes a concerted effort to understand and support the sector, government will be denied of the much needed revenue opportunity that can be generated by this sector,” she said.

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