Sikhulekelani Moyo, Business Reporter
UNITED Nations (UN) resident and humanitarian co-ordinator, Mr Edward Kallon, has hailed the upgrading of Bulawayo metro mini-factories saying the move goes a long way in enhancing improved business operations.
His sentiments follow a recent two-day visit to the city by a delegation from the multilateral organisation, which sought to assess some of the projects it has supported towards humanitarian assistance.
The Bulawayo metro mini-factories are situated at the OK Mart Complex and accommodates close to 60 formalised small-scale manufacturing and service units.
These have been provided with standard compartment working spaces with adequate lighting, power supply, ablution facilities, security and digital equipment like computers.
The project was done at a cost of US$165 000.
The refurbishment implementation was done by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in partnership with Bulawayo City Council, National University of Science and Technology, Old Mutual, Bulawayo SMEs Trust and Junior Achievers Zimbabwe as part of efforts to provide decent work place to small and medium enterprises.
Provision of adequate working space goes a long way in enhancing the process of formalising the informal sector.
In an interview after touring the metro mini-factory market, Mr Kallon said: “I am happy with the good job, which was done by ILO and this is my first time seeing such a development on the ground as I usually see most developments being published without tangible proof.”
Commenting, Bulawayo Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprises chairman Mr Costin Ngwenya said before refurbishment the area was not fit for purpose as it had many occupational hazards that resulted in one person losing life due to electrocution.
“The area was not fit to be a human habitat, we used anything like plastics and old roofing sheets to partition the building and we lost life due to electrocution as the place had unsafe cable connections,” he said.
“The coming of ILO has changed this place and we have some SMEs trained, which made the place professional and we now attract different classes of customers.”
Mr Ngwenya said before refurbishment, customers were afraid to visit the place as it was not safe for them and their children.
The mini-market was officially opened last December and the ceremony was blessed by the presence of ILO director for Zimbabwe and Namibia, Ms Hopolang Phororo, who said their drive was to promote decent workspace for SMEs as this provides jobs to the majority people globally.
Article Source: The Chronicle