New ministry to unleash SMME potential
CONFIDENT: KeabetswePheko-Moshagane

It is hoped the creation of a new ministry focusing on Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) will grow and unleash the potential of small businesses.

This week, Chief Negotiator at the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI), Phadza Butale revealed MITI would be slashed in two, giving birth to a new ministry dedicated to SMME development.

According to Butale, the move, which he says has already been approved by cabinet, shows government’s commitment to improve start-ups and medium businesses.

“The development of SMMEs is important as they are an engine of growth and will diversify the economy and lead Botswana to export-led growth,” stressed Butale, adding it will also lead to massive job creation.

Butale was addressinga Procurement and Enterprise Development Pitsoorganised by Barclays Bank Botswana, where he emphasised the efforts by government through agencies like CEDA and LEA complement efforts by the bank.

New ministry to unleash SMME potential
THANKFUL: Butale

Speaking during the event, Barclays Bank Botswana Managing Director, KeabetswePheko-Moshagane noted that her bank has already committed to SMME development through the creation Enterprise and Supply Development (ESD), launched in 2017.

She explained the project is a multi-faceted initiative which directly addresses the core issues facing SMMEs.

“It encompasses access to capital, access to markets and the bespoke business support and training,” said the Barclays MD, noting that these three aspects are important to the sustainable existence of any business but moreespecially in the SMME sector.

Although usually looked down upon, the SMME sector has through the years proven to be the driver of the economic growth and employment creation across the world.

Moshagane says research has shown that nearly 90 percent of registered businesses in Botswana are SMMEs, employing over 300, 000 people both formally and informally.

Through the ESDprogramme, Moshagane said the bank disbursed P80 million to local SMMEs last year alone, mainly in the mining sector.

From January to June this year, she revealed a further P50 million has been disbursed to SMMEs.

“Our intention is to continue funding SMMEs through this programme and engaging more corporates to open up their eco-systems to include local suppliers of our SMMEs,” added Moshagane.

According to Business Development Manager at Debswana, ThatayaoneMolefhi, the import bill stood at P68 billion which he said could be lower if local companies procured locally.

He said another factor which is leading to collapse of local SMMEs is their failure to support each, saying local companies would rather engage a multinational.