Letters

We don’t need Ministry of Small & Medium Enterprises

We don’t need Ministry of Small & Medium Enterprises

Dear editor,

AS Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP) we strongly believe that the creation of

the new Ministry for Small & Medium Enterprises is an unnecessary duplication to the mandate of the Ministry of

Commerce, Trade and Industry .

The Small Enterprises Development Act of 1996 defines an SME as an enterprise with

an annual turnover of not more than K80 million.

This means that when you look at the nature of business entities operating in Zambia, more than 90 percent of them can be classified as SMEs.

On the other hand, the mandate of advancing the interests of Zambian businesses falls under the Ministry of Commerce , Trade and Industry. This

means that with the creation of the new Ministry of Small & Medium Enterprises, there

will be a 90 percent overlap between the two ministries, as they will be servicing the same

entities in the economy.

PeP’s view is that if President Hakainde Hichilema wanted to create an additional ministry to advance the interests of

minorities in the economy, he should have considered creating a Ministry for the Informal Sector.

Several World Bank studies have revealed that the country’s ry’s informal sector accounts

for at least 40 percent of our economy and is made up of marketeers, street vendors and

other traders in the grey economy .

Additionally, the informal sector is not captured in the measurement of the country’s Gross Domestic Product

(GDP) and its participants do not have adequate access to the banking system.

This means that the informal sector players face unique challenges which require the

intervention of Government through the establishment of a dedicated ministry.

We therefore call upon President Hichilema to consider abolishing the Ministry of Small & Medium Enterprises and instead replace it with a Ministry for the Informal Sector.

Such a move will achieve two key benefits; firstly it will help address the duplication that

exists between the Ministry of Small & Medium Enterprises and the Ministry of Commerce,

Trade and Industry.

Secondly, it will help to address the special needs of players in the informal sector and

help them to transition to the formal sector.

Such a scenario would significantly contribute to the much needed growth of our

economy and result in the creation of the much needed employment especially for the youth.

SEAN E. TEMBO,President,Patriots for Economic Progress.

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