SWAKOPMUND, 23 SEP – The Equipment Aid Scheme initiative by the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development (MITSD) has been temporarily halted due to the country’s adverse economic state.
This was announced by MITSD Deputy Minister, Lucia Iipumbu during a familiarisation tour of projects in the Erongo Region on Friday.
“In this period of the economic crisis and in the environment of budget cuts, we need to optimise resources and prioritise actions. Therefore, no more applications will be processed for equipment, until further notice,” Iipumbu said.
As requirement to elevate small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the ministry provided assistance in the form of equipment and other technology to these businesses, in order for them to effectively run their businesses and subsequently create employment.
To date, the ministry procured and provided production equipment and machinery to over 700 SMEs in the 14 regions in the areas of construction and brick making; auto-motive repairs, air-conditioning and refrigeration repairs, garment manufacturing, agro-food processing; and joinery.
This intervention, according to the ministry, was aimed at boosting the production capacity of the informal and formal SME sector by assisting them to acquire production equipment and technologies.
The deputy minister expressed disappointment over individuals who have misused the scheme by selling their inputs, instead of using them for their intended purposes.
“People should make use of the benefits provided by the government and not benefit at the expenses of the poor, who actually need these type of schemes. We need everyone to have something to survive on,” she urged.
According to the MITSD 2018 statistics, the ministry, through the implementing agency, the Namibia Development Corporation has also constructed over 49 SME and industrial parks throughout the country.
These business parks accommodate over 600 business operators, who, according to the ministry, have created over 7 000 jobs.
Iipumbu, however, added that there are developmental partners who are willing to assist here and there, depending on the urgency of the application.
Additionally, the deputy minister also urged SME owners earning more than the stipulated tax threshold to pay tax to the government in order for it to create enough revenue to run the country. – NAMPA