Government courts chain stores to empower SMEs

As one way of empowering local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), government says it is engaging the country`s chain stores to provide market access to the SMEs in their shelf spaces.

Minister of Trade Sosten Gwengwe has told Yoneco FM that the move aims at giving a market platform to a range of local products by small scale businesses.

“The key thing about empowering SMEs is being able to give them a market, so we are trying to give them access to the shelf spaces in the major retail outlets like Sana, Shoprite, Game and Chipiku.

“So we are engaging all these chain stores so that they increase the shelf space for Malawian products, not only the vegetables and fruits but also the other products that most of our cooperatives and Malawian small scale manufactures are producing,” said Gwengwe.

He added that government has plans of providing market access to the local SMEs in accordance with the recently directed SME Order by President Lazarus Chakwera.

“We want also to give them the government market that’s why you are hearing the SME Order that procurement should be reserved to small scale businesses if they are on the list of designated goods and services under the SME Oder of 2020,” said Gwengwe.

Three months ago, Chakwera`s administration gazetted an SME Order with new guidelines on the procurement of goods, works, and services by Government.

The Malawi leader then directed all Government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to buy supplies from local SMEs, including those owned by marginalized groups.

According to Chakwera, government institutions like the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Institute (SMEDI) should help to build the capacity of those wishing to supply locally made goods and services to government so as to meet the required quality and quantity specifications.

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