Women`s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Deputy Minister Jennifer Mhlanga says there is a need to lobby local authorities and the private sector to avail idle industrial premises to Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who are struggling to access working spaces.
Mhlanga said this while addressing a meeting with SMEs at Mhlahlandlela Government Complex on Wednesday.
The deputy minister said SMEs are struggling to grow their businesses because they do not have enough working space.
“The one huddle that our SME’s face is in the aspect of working spaces even if you look at some of the most successful small players in manufacturing of furniture, in steel and making fabrication you will find that their places are so limited and this means that their businesses cannot expand or produce more in terms of production and cannot employ more as space is limited,” said Hon Mhlanga.
“As we look at job creation and growth it is essential to appeal to our local authorities to create those working spaces.”
Hon Mhlanga said the ministry will also be approaching relevant stakeholders to assist them in availing working space for them considering that industrial areas in the city are lying idle.
“We must be talking to industries and commerce, the private sector, local authorities and also our SMEs, it’s a matter that we must tackle in an urgent manner because the working space is lying idle and 140 000 SMEs in Bulawayo are waiting to access that working space and we must move in haste and come together as stakeholders to see how best we can utilise that space,” said the Deputy Minister.
Mhlanga added the government has availed the Women Development Fund (WDF) to all provinces in the country and distribution of funds will commence soon so that women may expand their businesses.
“For this fiscal year we have been given meaningful support by the government to the Women Development Fund and if you look at the distribution of this year it is very possible that the distribution will be going to all ten provinces, that is why we are coming to provinces to sensitise our women to say these are the projects and programmes that we have and we would like them to partake in them,” she said.
ZANU PF Women’s League Deputy Secretary, Angeline Masuku said people in Bulawayo are always complaining of being left out in all governments activities but they are to blame most of the times because they are reluctant.
“You are always complaining that everything is done that side but when things are brought to them they shun these opportunities. We do not jump at opportunities when they come which is why we are stilling buying bread at ZWL$18 and not the price that self-owned bakeries are selling bread at and we will always complain if we do not work hard,” said Masuku.