By Lisa Masuku
OVER 60 small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in Bulawayo have formalised their operations following the launch of an advanced Bulawayo SMEs factory worth over 160 000 United States dollars this Monday.
VOICE: It was a glorious day in Bulawayo this Monday as over 60 SMEs advanced from the informal to the formal sector, which coincided with the official opening of the newly refurbished Bulawayo small and medium enterprises (SMEs) factory that was initiated by the government in conjunction with the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
The SMEs housed at the newly refurbished centre applauded the government and the ILO for enhancing their competitiveness both in the local and the international market through the provision of a centre for them to operate from.
“We now work in safe and clean spaces, even our clientele has grown because of this, we are so happy before we had security issues but now we can lock our offices.”
The Deputy Minister for Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Honourable Jennifer Mhlanga said the collaboration of government with the International Labour Organisation to facilitate the transition is in line with the country’s vision to achieve an upper-middle-income economy by 2030.
“This is part of the progress path that will tip the scale of development to ensure that our nation attains the upper-middle-income status by 2030.”
International Labour Organisation (ILO) Director Zimbabwe-Namibia, Hopolang Phororo emphasised the need for SMEs to formalise their operations.
“The need to transform the informal economy in Africa into decent work is growing, this also is the case in Zimbabwe where before the Covid-19 pandemic about 57 percent of the working-age population was outside of the labour market.”
Zimbabwe has one of the largest informal economies out of the 158 countries estimated at 60.6 percent of the GDP.