Financially developing the sector would, among other things redress the high level of youth unemployment, currently at around 32 percent.
The country’s economy would also grow significantly as the sector would contribute massively to the GDP.
But the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector is faced with numerous challenges that inhibit its growth, some of which include access to finance, low production capacity as well as access to national, regional and international markets.
Government, through the Ministry of Small Business Development, Cooperatives and Marketing has realised these challenges, attesting to the fact that mechanisms for addressing these challenges are through effective dialogue and collaborations with the business community.
The ministry has therefore partnered with the private sector to create an open platform aimed at enabling effective dialogue and collaborations between the MSMEs, cooperatives and the public sector.
Under the title “Sethala”, the platform seeks to ensure that solemn continuous discussions are held between the public and the private sector to discuss and resolve some of the challenges and remove barriers to finance and market access.
On Wednesday, during the launch of the programme, the Minister of Small Business Development, Cooperatives and Marketing, Chief Thesele ’Maseribane said the barriers to access finance should be dealt with accordingly.
“This ministry is responsible for growing and developing small businesses in the country. But we have to invest into these businesses financially and with clear legal frameworks in order to break the barriers. The MSME sector should actually be the national agenda in this country.
“We have to break barriers towards access to finance because small businesses also deserve financial assistance to grow. Working hand in hand with all stakeholders will allow us to break these barriers and eventually export some of our products to South Africa,” Chief Maseribane said.
For his part, the Project Manager at the Private Sector Competitiveness and Economic Diversification Project, Chaba Mokuku showed that local commercial banks should have products that cater for the MSMEs in the country.