ONGWEDIVA: President Hifikepunye Pohamba says the Small and Medium Enterprise Bank (SME Bank), which will provide capital and advice to local SMEs, is expected to become operational before the end of this year.
Pohamba said this whilst officially opening the 2012 Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair (OATF) on Monday.
In addition to the establishment of the SME Bank, according to Pohamba, the Namibian Government has also amended the Tender Board Regulations to enable more participation for SMEs in public procurement tenders.
“Moreover, small businesses are now able to cede their contract income as collateral and thereby access starting capital from the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN),” the Head of State said.
He explained that since Independence in 1990, Government has invested significant resources and made various efforts to establish a conducive environment for businesses to operate in and create wealth.
The government, in its efforts to establish a conducive environment for businesses has put in place measures such as the Sites and Premises Initiative under the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), Pohamba said.
The Head of State pointed out that as part of the implementation of the said initiative, Government has established industrial parks and SME modules around the country with the aim to promote entrepreneurship and boost trade and commercial activities in the country.
A total of 42 industrial parks are now operational around Namibia, while more are under construction or undergoing expansion at places such as Ongenga, Eenhana, Omuthiya, Karasburg, Kalkfeld, Oshakati and Okahandja.
According to the President, an automotive and logistics hub is being built at Walvis Bay, while a trade and industrial multipurpose centre is under construction at Rundu.
“In order to assist our SME Sector, the government has introduced the Equipment Aid Scheme, which provides equipment and machinery to needy SMEs with the view to promote manufacturing and value addition,” Pohamba told his audience.
Tim Ekandjo of Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTC) told the official opening gathering that his company as official sponsor of the OATF has injected N.dollars 450 000 into the trade fair for this year and the next two years.
He also pointed out that out of the about 500 exhibitors at this year’s OATF, 46 are international exhibitors from countries like South Africa, Botswana, Ghana, Zambia, Angola, Zimbabwe and Indonesia.
The 2012 OATF, which is in its 13th edition this year, commenced last Friday and will run until this Saturday.