Staff Reporter WINDHOEK - The Namibia Procurement Fund (NamPro Fund), in partnership with Pupkewitz Megabuild, recently concluded a two-day SME training workshop, held at the NUST Hotel School and focused on skills transfer in the area of financial and tax management. According to a World Bank report, SMEs are playing an increasingly important role in addressing urgent developmental challenges in emerging economies. These entities constitute a major source of employment and generate significant domestic and export earnings. According to a study from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), SMEs account for more than half of all formal jobs worldwide, and their share of aggregate employment is comparable to that of large firms. They are more likely to employ more labour-intensive production processes than large enterprises, thereby significantly contributing to the provision of productive employment opportunities and income generation. In so doing, they become a major contributor to private sector employment and assist in national efforts to reduce poverty and unemployment. However, only a few of the operators within this sector have been able to identify and capitalise on the opportunities available to them. This is due to the fact that in Sub-Saharan Africa, SMEs are severely hampered by an under developed business environment. A Menon Business Economics report states that bureaucratic red tape, corruption, complex entry regulations and so on provide few incentives to become (or remain) active in the formal part of the economy. The report goes on to add that in many of these countries, a large share of SMEs are not participating in the formal economy. Without being a formal enterprise, access to finance, new market opportunities and public sector services are severely hampered. In Namibia, the Namibian Business and Investment Climate Survey indicates that SMEs and SME owners have not really explored the possibilities latent in the Namibian SME space. The survey indicates that there is a definite need for greater skills development within the SME sector in Namibia in order to realise broader national economic growth, especially the enhancement of soft skills such as financial management. Helena Ilovu, the SME Development officer at the Namibia University of Science and Technology - Centre for Enterprise Development (CED) says: “The lack of adequate financial management skills is one of the biggest obstacles facing many Namibian SMEs.” “These SMEs fail to operate profitably because SME owners are not adequately capacitated to manage their business finances, so much so that some SMEs are forced to suspend operations because they are unable to pay their employees on time or even pay back their loans to financial institutions. As a result, they are not able to run their businesses successfully,” she added. To this end, some SME owners recently received training sponsored by NamPro Fund, Pupkewitz Megabuild and Deloitte & Touche on how to manage business finances, proper financial record keeping and how to apply for SME funding. The training was aimed at giving SME owners tools to increase their capacity and competitiveness, whilst taking advantage of opportunities in the prevailing economic climate. As drivers of local economic growth, SMEs are often a source of great innovation and diversity, providing employment and tax revenue, emerging as a key instrument in poverty reduction. Operators in this sector need to be adequately equipped so as to foster national economic growth. This makes, the need for services offered by institutions such as NamPro Fund, Pupkewitz Megabuild and Deloitte & Touche all the more pertinent to Namibian economic development. To this end, NamPro Fund and Pupkewitz Megabuild have scheduled further trainings for SMEs, which will take place in Keetmanshoop and Walvis Bay later during the course of the year.
New Era Reporter
2018-07-31 09:31:03 6 months ago