10 Nov 2022
Zambia’s government has prioritised the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the country as they fuel economic growth.
This is according to SME Development Minister, Elias Mubanga, who added that SMEs make up around 97% of all businesses and contribute 70% of Zambia’s GDP.
In addition, Mubanga said SMEs represent 88% of employment opportunities as they typically hire a large share of the most vulnerable sections of the workforce, Lusaka Times reports.
The SME Development Minister was speaking during the official opening of the ministerial coordination meeting for micro, small and medium enterprises and cooperative associations in Lusaka.
He added that the ministry has engaged stakeholders including cooperatives and SMEs to look at ways to tackle the challenges being faced by the sector. Mubanga said a holistic approach is required to address the numerous constraints, with particular focus being given to access to finance for the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprise and cooperatives.
The Minister added that in order to ease access to funds, the ministry has gradually restructured the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) loan portfolio.
Also speaking at the ministerial meeting, Zambia’s Chamber of Small and Medium Business Association representative, John Shamputa said the issues being faced by the SME sector require urgent attention.
He added that SMEs are not benefitting from the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) allocations as much as they should, and has made an appeal to the ministry to ensure that these businesses also receive their fair share of the funding.