Small Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs) have been urged to be committed, persevering entrepreneurs who are determined to grow their business to give impetus to Botswana’s sustainable economic growth.
Addressing SMMEs at the recently held Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) Pitso, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dorcas Makgato-Malesu, said the role played by the private sector cannot be underestimated in economic growth and job creation.
“The real engine of sustainable and equitable growth in this country is the Private sector. Small, medium and micro-enterprises represent an important vehicle to addressing the challenges of job creation, economic growth and poverty reduction in our country,” said Malesu.
She said the Government of Botswana is committed to the overall development of small, medium and micro enterprises in the country, adding that the SMMEs should take advantage of the various programmes put in place.
Recent statistics indicate that 32 percent of the job market is in the SMME arena and a significant amount of the GDP is credited to small businesses thus playing a leading role in the socio-economic development of Botswana.
“SMMEs have to outgrow mere dependence on government tenders and partner with large international role players, which assist in bringing in more Foreign Direct Investment and new technology into our country,” she said.
Botswana is part of the global community wherein the market economy, through which the country conducts trade and exchange of innovative ideas on investment, technology and development, is dominant.
Commenting on Botswana’s performance in the recent Global Competitiveness Report, she said the report makes sobering reading, given the worrying indications that previous advantages continue to be eroded as we are failing to make headway in key areas in which future economic development will increasingly depend. Out of 142 countries covered in the 2011/12 Report, Botswana is ranked 80th.
“It is incumbent on SMMEs to develop and increase their capacities to operate in the competitive economy thereby arresting the situation before it degenerates,” said Malesu. She said government has therefore taken the responsibility to help SMMEs to develop and increase their capacities to operate in the competitive economy.
Malesu said the Economic Diversification Drive (EDD); short term strategy focuses on the interventions that promote targeted domestic production and consumption, by leveraging the country’s purchasing power to enhance participation of local enterprises in the economy.
She encouraged policy makers not to lose sight of the long term fundamentals that underpin successful economic development.
The Pitso was designed to evaluate how Small Micro and Medium Enterprises can be assisted to continue to play a crucial role in Botswana’s economy.
The Pitso ran under the banner “Paving the way for the growth of SMMEs”.