By Faith Chimutsa
In a bid to reorganize and modernise MSME workspace facilities ministry has started engagements with various Government Department and stakeholders such as Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, Ministry of Housing and Social Amenities, Office of the Minister of State for Harare Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Zimbabwe Republic Police and City of Harare .
Speaking at the press conference, Thursday in the capital, Minister of Women Affairs, Community,Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Dr Sithembiso Nyoni said the ministry has also engaged the SMEs Associations who have expressed their readiness to cooperate with Government and the Local Authority in order to bring back sanity at their work sites.
“My Ministry has noted with concern the challenges being experienced by SMEs in Harare Metropolitan Province with regards to access to appropriate, affordable and modern workspaces”,she said.
These challenges have manifested themselves in the recent disturbances particularly the case of Glenview Furniture Complex where fire incidences have occurred twice over the last two months and destroyed up to 90% of the traders’ wares and equipment.
She said another case point is the continued closure of Mupedzanhamo market and recent cases of violence which are being reported at that market place which sadly resulted in the loss of an innocent life.
Dr Nyoni said recent assessment of Mupedzanhamo Market showed that there is need to renovate and refurbish the facilities before reoccupation. There is need to clean the market by removing heaps of rubbish. There is also need to construct additional toilets to match the 1500 traders.
The whole complex has only one tap connected to the City Council water source and hence there is need to put up more water sources to match the number of traders in the market.
In addition to Mupedzanhamo and Glenview Furniture Complex, Shawasha Grounds and Coca-Cola Corner have also been earmarked for rapid development to address the workspace challenges in the Greater Harare area.
” Government has made engagements with Pension Funds and the Private Sector to partner on these initiatives. I am glad to advise that these institutions have expressed willingness to work with Government in renovating existing or put up new modern workspaces for the sector.
“As a Ministry we are quite confident that once these measures are implemented, they will restore sanity and enhance development and growth of the sector towards achievement of Vision 2030. Government has clearly articulated through the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) that the emergence of the MSME sector is crucial in promoting employment creation and inclusive growth”, explained Nyoni.
“The Ministry would also like to advise the nation that the initiatives being undertaken include eliminating Space Barons who have unlawfully occupied open spaces and are interfering with SME operations across the City”,she ended.