Small and Medium entrepreneurs have been advised to take advantage of the increased economic empowerment fund in the 2022 national budget by engaging viable businesses.
Senior Monitoring and Evaluation Officer in the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprise Development, William Kabwe said government has increased the economic empowerment fund from K41 million to K350 million.
Mr Kabwe encouraged SMEs and cooperatives to come up with viable business proposals and access the funds under the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC).
He said the UPND manifesto recognize the role that micro, small and medium enterprises play in the country’s economic transformation agenda of becoming a middle income country by 2030.
Mr Kabwe was speaking to ZANIS after officiating at a Lobito corridor project SMEs awareness workshop in Solwezi today.
“Government recognizes that at least every one of us does some sort of micro or small businesses so creating an enabling environment for all of us to thrive is cardinal,” he said.
Mr Kabwe said government will continue enhancing skills and business planning for SMEs and cooperatives to access financial support from various players including financial institutions and commercial banks for existing businesses and start up.
“So government is cognizant of the fact that it is not only about money but skills development as well. We want to teach people how to come up with viable business plans,” he said
Speaking in a separate interview, Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) acting Director Technical Services, Belinda Soko said about K2 million has been set aside for SMEs capacity building and procuring of equipment for SMEs who will qualify for it.
“The objective of the Lobito corridor project is trade facilitation hence, encouraging stakeholder participation through creating awareness,” Ms Soko said.
She said the plan is to capture as many SMEs as possible with viable businesses and quality products that conform to local and international standard.