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SMEs lament lack of support

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By Sharon Chirwa:

KAPONDAMGAGA—SME are crucial

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country have expressed worry over lack of support from both the government and individuals towards the growth of their enterprises.

The SMEs raised the concern in Blantyre on Friday during the first-ever SME Expo which the Malawi Confederation Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) organised.

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One of the SME players, Jean Pankuku, said, even though the Buy Malawi Strategy promotes consumption of local products, both the government and individual Malawians prefer imported goods.

MCCCI President, Prince Kapondamgaga, said the expo was aimed at providing market exposure to the SMEs.

“We have acknowledged that quite a number of SMEs are what form the backbone of businesses in this country, yet they don’t have the visibility and prominence they should be given.

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“They also face a number of challenges like access to finance and technology,” Kapondamgaga said.

The expo was held under the theme ‘SME Growth Through Business Linkages’.

Kapondamgaga said the theme was crafted to enable stakeholders to come with lasting solutions to problems that SMEs face.

“This expo is a platform that allows SMEs to be visible and mainly interface. It also plays in with our new strategy to include SMEs as a way of promoting the sector,” Kapondamgaga added.

Director of Finance in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Joseph Mkandawire, said SMEs face a number of challenges.

He said the government was committed to promoting SME growth.

“Government is reviewing the SME Policy to bring up interventions that would help out these businesses. We want to ensure that we have business linkages where skills are taught to SMEs so that they can develop business plans, and prepare financial statements,” he further said.

He urged SMEs to work together to penetrate local and international markets.

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