Conducive workspaces crucial to SMEs growth
By Edward Mukaro
SMALL and Medium Entreprises (SMEs) have implored the Government to avail safe and secure workspaces so as to enhance production.
Local SMEs continue to face challenges as far as acquiring secure workspaces is concerned, with most either working on undesignated and unsafe areas.
Speaking in a brief before the launch of the 11th edition of the SMEs International Expo in Harare, the Expo’s director, Delight Makotose called upon the government to intervene and assist SMEs and prevent disasters such as the Glen View fire that destroyed products worth millions of dollars.
“Conducive workspaces are essential for the success of any business; hence, we implore the government to lend a helping hand to SMEs as we go about in search of safe and conducive workspaces that do not endanger the lives of the workforce.
“The nation has experienced disasters that have destroyed lifetime saving at various workspaces such as the Glen View fire, which gutted and reduced to ash artifacts and products manufactured by SMEs working on that site.
“Government and local authorities should prioritise the provision of workspace to productive MSME sub-sectors and growth-oriented enterprises which will lead to a higher contribution to GDP,” said Makotose.
A recent symposium implored the government and local authorities to priorities widening workspace provision by unlocking the value of idle workspace and community buildings such as beer halls, idle industrial buildings, under-utilised youth centres, and school buildings, among others.
Such action was identified as a catalyst to discourage the movement of people to operate in towns and the central business district.
A local SMEs body recently echoed the same sentiments as Makotose stating that apart from assisting SMEs to acquire conducive workspaces; it was also essential for authorities to unlock value through providing property rights.
“Government and local authorities should prioritise unlocking value through providing property rights on MSME workspace. This will encourage people to invest in workspace and infrastructure
“Authorities should promote construction of workspaces in residential, peri-urban and rural areas to reduce congestion in towns and CBDs.”
Provision of workspace and infrastructure for MSMEs is key to the recovery of SMEs affected by COVID- 19. Operating in appropriate designated places will also encourage MSMEs to invest in production technology, foster formalisation and compliance of MSMEs.
The Government of Zimbabwe through the Zimbabwe MSME Policy 2021 – 2024 and the country’s Vision 2030 is in sync with better infrastructure and workspaces for SMEs.