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SME Challenges Need Speedy Response-BOCCIM

Staff Writer
Botswana Confederation of Commerce, Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM) in collaboration with the International Labour Office (ILO) stated that a slow response to the current problems facing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) could have a negative impact on the country's economy.

This came out of a two-day conference held in Gaborone last week themed: Effective Crisis Responses Targeting SMEs. The conference was aimed at recognising the importance of crisis response policies specifically addressing the needs of SMEs, assessing the effectiveness of measures that governments around the world are introducing in support of SMEs. This includes increasing the flow of credit and other types of finance to SMEs, tax reduction, subsidies to SMEs, support to entrepreneurships and self-employment programmes and developing a strategy to ensure that the views of SMEs in framing crisis responses are known by policy makers. The current problems SMEs are facing in the country and around the world include lack of finance, difficulties in acquiring and exploiting appropriate technology, constrained managerial capabilities, low productivity and regulatory barriers. These problems have however been worsened by the current economic crisis.BOCCIM president, Modiri Mbaakanyi said that government in conjunction with other private sectors need to focus on SMEs as they are recognised worldwide as key actors in

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national development and employment. "In Botswana, SMEs account for more than 50 percent of private sector employment and more than 25 percent of national output. They also play a fundamental role in economic diversification and creation of sustainable rural employment," he said. Mbaakanyi said the ILO's function is to guide national and international policies aimed at stimulating SME recovery. This includes identifying the need for coordinated policy options that would ensure a favourable environment for SME development highlighting the importance of specific initiatives promoting affordable credit. "Employers' Organisations and institutions involved in SME development are fundamental actors to ensure that the voice of SMEs is taken into account and appropriate measures are put in place by national policy makers and programme managers," he said. The seminar presented an opportunity to facilitate discussion between SMEs, employers' organisation, institutions promoting SME development to assess the impact of the crisis as well as to identify the main problems that arise and come up with concrete policy options.

 



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