SMEs centre launched in Byo

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development on Monday launched the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) centre in Bulawayo as part of the efforts to transform and formalise the informal sector.

The SMEs centre has more than 60 business entrepreneurs.

The centre has been spruced up with decent floor space and ablution facilities.

Speaking during the launch, ILO Director Hopolang Pororo said there is a need to transform the informal economy in Africa.

“This is also the case in Zimbabwe where prior to the Covid-19 Pandemic about 57 percent of the working population in Zimbabwe was outside the legal market. Among those working the unemployment rate reached 17 percent. Among those working 80 percent were in informal employment with almost 8 million people food insecure,” said Pororo.

She said the Covid-19 pandemic and associated containment measures have further aggravated this problem. The impact has been particularly severe among the informal economy workers, women and youths.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development, Jennifer Mhlanga said the centre will encourage the informal sector to work towards formalisation.

“The investment and development which I am reliably informed that it was a tune of US$165 000, is a sure way to encourage the informal sector to work towards formalisation and be recognized.

“It is indeed befitting that we take time to reflect and recognize their sacrifice, achievements, aspirations and to also understand the challenges confronting them as they gallantly contribute to the development of our nation,” said Mhlanga.

The Minister of State for Bulawayo provincial affairs Judith Ncube said the structure is a testimony to the Government’s thrust of migrating from informal to formal business.

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