By Alois Vinga
ZIMBABWE’s second five-year Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) policy is set to increase industrial growth and productivity signifying a major departure from the formalisation thrust which dominated the previous policy.
Speaking to stakeholders about the policy document Thursday, Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Ministry’s Secretary Melusi Matshiya said all recommendations received so far have been condensed.
“The policy document which is undergoing finalisation contains inputs that have been distilled into 12 pillars upon which the MSME Policy is anchored which include creating an enabling Legal and Regulatory Environment; MSMEs financial support, market development and trade promotion among others,” he said.
It also focuses on entrepreneurship development; business management, corporate governance and technical skills development; workspace and infrastructure support; access to modern production and information communication technologies (ICT) and Rural Industrialisation.
However, also speaking at the occasion, European Union head of delegation to Zimbabwe, Timo Olkkonen bemoaned the lack of implementation of the previous policy by government.
“In my interactions with colleagues from the private, public sector and from the development partner community, I learnt that the previous MSME policy was not bad, but suffered from lack of implementation,” he said.
He challenged government and its stakeholders to ensure that good ideas contained in the document were implemented and operationalised so they could bear fruit to the benefit of the majority.
While Zimbabwe is classified among the top five world’s most informalised economies at around 95%, the International Labour Organisation notes that the sector’s growth can be traced to: ‘…inappropriate, ineffective, misguided or badly implemented macroeconomic and social policies, often developed without tripartite consultations”.
The contributions brought about by the sector have been debated for a long time with government arguing that the sector employs around 5.7 million people.
However, a Finmark Trust survey found that only 22% – about 638,000 – were full-time, paid employees, while 26% were temporary or seasonal or contract workers, 22% were unpaid workers, 9% were paid in kind, 3% were paid in kind and money, 14% were part-time paid workers and 4% were classified as other.