Rising rentals choke SMEs

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SMALL to medium enterprises have appealed for Government intervention in resolving working space challenges following the recent increase in rental charges by owners of properties they operate from.

Through their association the SMEs said they were unable to cope with rentals being demanded by property owners, which they say have increased by up to 300 percent.

Professional SMEs Chamber president, Mr Daniel Chinyemba, told delegates who attended a recent SMEs workshop organised by the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, that viable SMEs operations were being frustrated by lack of affordable working space and supporting infrastructure.

“The SME sector has been doing a very good job in helping in the revival of the economy. Of late the sector has been finding it hard to operate because of challenges linked to lack of operating space,” he said.

“Rentals have of late gone up by more than 300 percent leading to some formalised SMEs closing shop. As the SME sector we are appealing to our Government to provide working space, which is favourable for business. Government should invest in SME infrastructure, factory shells and industrial parks.”

The price madness has crept across basic commodities and major service products, leaving consumers in shock.

The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) in response has called for speedy enactment of the Consumer Protection Act, to effectively address the plight of consumers.

A Bill is already being worked on and if approved, the law will result in the establishment of a Consumer Court and a Consumer Protection Commission, which have been on the cards for years.

Meanwhile, Mr Chinyemba has said the devolution process that Government is working on would greatly assist growth of the SME sector.

“Devolution, which Government is championing, is quite important in the SME sector. Once company registration offices are decentralised there will be a remarkable boom in the sector, which will also be felt in the economy,” he said.

“The inter-bank exchange market is also another positive thing, which is bearing fruits in the economy though Government should also work on making it profitable for the SME sector.”–chronicle.co.zw

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