Fund for rural SMEs

HARARE - The Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development has urged all struggling rural retailers to access loans from the Small Enterprises Development Corporation (Sedco) under the Government's Shop Restocking Programme.

Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development, Sithembiso Nyoni said there was a need to capacitate rural enterprises as they were the hardest hit by the country’s decade long economic meltdown. The rural shops also suffered under Government’s price reduction blitz in 2007 which was introduced to curb unwarranted price hikes.

“Rural retailers have started acquiring loans under the restocking programme and so far businesses in areas such Gwanda, Plumtree and Murombedzi have benefited from it. We are however, urging all rural retailers that were affected during the hyper inflationary environment that had haunted the country over the years to make use of this facility because we feel retail is the mainstay business in remote areas,” Nyoni said.

The programme was launched in March this year by the Government to improve the supply of commodities in communal retail outlets. The Minister said her ministry in collaboration with Sedco was targeting to cover all rural provinces of the country before the end of the year.

“The restocking of rural shops will enable rural folks to purchase commodities within their areas of jurisdiction instead of going to town. The loan facility was also created in a way that all those that access it will be in a position to remit unlike the ones being offered by banks which have rather stringent measures and high interest rates. The loan is payable after three months at 10 percent interest per month,” she said.

Last month the National Social Security Authority released US$250 000 to Sedco Small for on-lending to small-scale and medium-scale enterprises. The money was part of the US$1 million budgeted by the authority for the year to support small enterprises and it brought the total of funds disbursed to the corporation to US$500 000 since the beginning of the year.

Post published in: Economy

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