Government works on capacitating business youth ventures

The Chronicle

Senior Business Reporter

FINANCE and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube has said the Government is working on capacitating the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Corporation (SMEDCO) and the youth bank to financially empower youths’ business start-up ventures.

Minister Ncube said it was critical for youths to be financially empowered as the various start-ups have the potential to create employment.

Professor Ncube said Bulawayo youths stand to benefit from the expansion of the city radius to 40 kilometres.

“Access to finance is a key issue for youths, so as Government we are capacitating Smedco and the youth bank. This is something which we are pushing vigorously,” he said.

Professor Ncube was speaking during a tour of Esihlengeni Medical Chambers in Bulawayo. The facility which is located in the central business district houses several health care projects.

He said the facility is enhancing medical care in the city.

“It is housing indigenous owned laboratories and training facilities for nurse aides. We are in need of nurse aides in the country. Some are involved in medical procurement. It is pleasing to note that the Infrastructural Development Bank of Zimbabwe is investing in the health sector through this kind of a facility to support Government needs of providing adequate health care. As Government we need to support such ventures.”

A representative of Nurses24Academy, Mrs Rudo Hlongwane had asked the minister about funding opportunities available for youths including those in the medical field.

SMEDCO was founded in terms of the SMEs Act, Chapter 24:12 and has since inception been working with MSMEs in the country to meet their peculiar needs.

SMEDCO’s mandate covers the micro, small and medium enterprises as well as co-operatives. These cut across all sectors of the economy. The institution provides both financial and non-financial services to MSMEs.

These include but are not limited to lending, training, advise, infrastructure provision, and capacity building.

For Bulawayo, Professor Ncube said youths should take advantage of the expansion of the city to start income generating ventures.

“As Bulawayo city radius expands, youth in the city are expected to benefit from several projects that have been lined up. The projects are spread across the mining, agricultural and information and communication sector.

“In the region, we have launched youths in mining projects and have land in Matabeleland North and South.

“For the youths in Bulawayo, we hope that they can explore the opportunities that are brought about by the expansion of the city radius to 40 kilometres.

He added that in Cowdray Park land to build a youth centre has been identified.

“The youth need to be equipped with a lot of skills and some are pointing us to welding, textiles and some want to supplement their Ordinary Levels. Personally, I want to establish an information hub, a

Silicon Valley in Bulawayo. We think that would drive itself going forward,”
Given the employment challenges in the country, many people have turned to small businesses to eke out a living.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa

However, the Government remains concerned that the bulk of SMEs are operating outside the law and therefore, cannot access financial support to grow their businesses.

Recently, the Government said it has set aside mining concessions in eight of the country’s 10 provinces for the youths.

During a post-Cabinet media briefing in August, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the Government had agreed to reserve mines for prospecting and pegging of areas in the eight provinces.

“Section 20 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe states that the ‘State and its institutions and agencies at every level must take reasonable measures, including affirmative action to ensure that youths are afforded opportunities for employment and other avenues to economic empowerment.’

“Accordingly, Cabinet approved to reserve against prospecting and pegging portions of areas in the eight provinces. A framework which will clearly outline the implementation modalities for the programme will be shared with the public soon. Cabinet also approved the Finance Ministry to fund the youths in mining, a programme to enable the youth to optimise the mining concessions.”

Article Source: The Chronicle

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