SMEs to offer employment opportunities

Parliament is currently debating both the revised Trade and the Industrial Development Bills, meant to make it easier to start up a business.

When officially opening JB House and a JB Distribution Centre in Gaborone last Friday, President Mokgweetsi Masisi revealed government has implemented several initiatives geared at promoting the ease of doing business.

These include, among others, the launching of an Online Business Registration System (OBRS) in June with a view to making it easier to register and own a business.

Masisi said global statistics have proven that for any country to thrive economically, Small Medium Enterprises must be vibrant as they play a key role in generating employment for both the unskilled labour force and professionals.

“According to the 2016 Report of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), statistics indicate that SMEs in the OECD area account for about 70 percent of jobs,” said Masisi, adding that in emerging economies, SMEs contribute up to 45 percent of total employment and 33 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“For my Government, the development of SMES is pivotal to achieve our aspirations of a high income country by 2036. It therefore, goes without saying that the SMEs sector is critical to Botswana’s aims of citizen economic empowerment and strengthening the prospect of achieving an inclusive economic growth and poverty alleviation,” the President continued.

Masisi said that it is his desire to realise a diversified economy and one of the key drivers is through resilient SMEs. He added that government has embarked on a transformation agenda that aims to drive Botswana’s economy to be diversified and globally competitive.

“It is on this basis that we have decided to create a Ministry responsible for SMEs and Enterprise Development. We expect a significant growth in the SMEs sector hence the need to have a fully-fledged Enterprise Development Centre across the country that will comprehensively support SMEs.

“To this end, we will continue to strengthen institutions that are specifically set up to support SMEs like the Local Enterprise Authority, the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency, the Companies and Intellectual Property Authority as well as the Botswana Bureau of Standards,” Masisi concluded.