The Zambia Chamber of Small and Medium Businesses (ZCSMBA) has advised the Citizen Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) to decentralise the establishment of industrial yards to district level in order to cater for rural SMEs.

CEEC with support from the African Development Bank (AfDB) has embarked on the construction of industrial yards in seven provinces across the country at a cost of 20 million United States dollars.

But ZCSMBA Executive Director Moto Ng’ambi observes that decentralising the programme to district level, will help Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) benefit more, in order to grow their businesses.

ZANIS reports that Mr Ng’ambi noted that setting up the industrial yards in all provincial centres will disadvantage the rural SMEs that have potential to expand, but lack capacity to deliver, and are in need of such support.

He explained that SMEs in rural areas have potential to grow and contribute positively towards uplifting the lives of people in their communities, but lack skills and equipment, hence the need for CEEC to consider them.

He added that this is because the programme is aimed at helping SMEs advance in their entrepreneurship skills, and have access to enhance equipment.

Meanwhile, Mr Ng’ambi has praised government for various interventions aimed at supporting the growth of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

He stated that government’s decision to come up with different programmes and projects as a way of empowering and developing the sector is a progressive move towards reducing poverty levels among households.

The ZCSMBA Chief noted that currently most government ministries are running different programmes and projects with focus on providing funding to SMEs.

He cited the Ministries of Youth and Sport, Agriculture and Commerce, Trade and Industry, as some of the ministries that have played an active role in empowering SMEs in various sectors of the economy in the country.

He added that such interventions by government will go a long way in contributing to national development, adding that SMEs are the backbone of any country’s economy.

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