Deputy minister of trade and industrialisation Verna Sinimbo last week said she was pleased to observe the resumption of business operations at SME and Industrial Parks following the severe impact of Covid-19. She made this observation when she concluded familiarisation visits at SME and Industrial Parks at Khorixas and Opuwo in the Kunene Region on Wednesday.
She was further pleased with the recent completion of the industrial parks at Opuwo that will soon be available for traders to start operating their businesses, and encouraged entrepreneurs to apply for and make use of the parks to further improve revenue.
The purpose of Sinimbo’s visit was to observe economic activities undertaken at the various SME and Industrial Parks in the Kunene region, spearheaded by the implementing agency of SME development under the trade ministry, the Namibia Industrial Development Agency (NIDA).
During her visit to Khorixas on Monday, Sinimbo noted that business operations were slow since the Covid-19 pandemic, but traders remained hopeful, committed and dedicated. She thus advised business owners who had experienced a decline in business profits to diversify their businesses by identifying opportunities in demand within the local community.
Some of the traders who have been operating in different business units at the SME park since its inception acknowledged government for the initial assistance with production equipment and machinery. This assistance was received through several support programmes such as the Equipment Aid Scheme (EAS), which assisted MSMEs involved in manufacturing and value-addition business activities.
The deputy minister also visited the Opuwo SME Park, where SME units were fully occupied and operating, which prompted her to remark is “a sign of good business opportunity in the town. This is a positive indication that economic activities are thriving in the town of Opuwo, and these traders need our full support”.
Sinimbo’s familiarisation visits started on 25 July 2022, and are part of planned activities to visit all 14 regions countrywide. She has thus far visited 13 regions, including Kunene, since 2020.
It is through the site and premises’ programme that the trade ministry continues honouring its mandate of providing a conducive business environment by developing business and industrial infrastructure such as multi-purpose SME modules, industrial parks and common facility centres. These facilities are made available to business operators, especially SMEs, at affordable rental charges.
Sinimbo also officiated at the opening of the Omuthiya Othithayi Festival and Career Fair in a bid to stimulate the town’s business opportunities in an entertaining, interactive and immersive marketing and networking opportunity for both locals and visitors.
At the same event in Omuthiya, she facilitated engagements with stakeholders and the business community, where she encouraged the audience, particularly those trading informally, to formalise their business registrations with the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA) to enjoy privileges and benefits that comes with legalising a business.
Today, 1 August 2022, Sinimbo will undertake a site visit to the Tsumeb Industrial Park as her final stopover for this expedition.
“Given the ailing economy due to Covid-19 and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict effects, the ministry recognises the vital role in developing the SME sector efficiently and effectively. This is being done by means of setting appropriate policies and programmes, availing land for the development of businesses, creating an enabling infrastructure for lease at affordable rental rates, and setting a best practice model for SME businesses to grow and flourish with key outputs of job creation and growing the economy,” read a ministerial statement.