Unregistered SMEs miss out on reopening window

Most Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Bulawayo are yet to resume operations as they are yet to register as required under Covid-19 regulations.

Zimbabwe is on a national lockdown which started on March 30 as part of measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Bulawayo Chamber of SMEs chairman Mr Energy Majazi said yesterday that most of the businesses are yet to resume operations.

“Most businesses are yet to re-open and this is largely due to compliance issues pertaining Covid-19 guidelines and regulations.

“One of the requirements for them to resume operations is to make sure that they are formalised. Those that aren’t registered are not operational,” he said.

Mr Majazi would, however, not say the number of businesses yet to resume operations saying he did not have the figures off hand but said they were many.

Government has recognised the critical role played by SMEs and the informal sector at large in contributing to the national economy. In this context, Government in recent years embarked on a formalisation programme for SMEs and the informal sector.

However, the programme has to a greater extent been met with resistance as players in the sector are reluctant to contribute to the fiscus through taxation.

Mr Majazi said those that were operating from certain designated centres such as OK Mart and Save The Nation were registered and about 90 percent of them had re-opened.

He said those that have resumed operations have complied with the Covid-19 reopening guidelines and were very conscious about the pandemic.

“They have complied with the Covid-19 reopening guidelines as prescribed by Government and the World Health Organisation.

“They have sanitisers, masks and maintain social distancing,” said Mr Majazi.

In April, the Bulawayo Chamber of SMEs chairman said the association had 2 600 registered members and these had also submitted their details to the line ministry for Covid-19 stimulus package that Government has announced.

“We haven’t received the Covid-19 stimulus package as yet but what l know is out of our submissions only 150 were called to come and registered their NetOne mobile numbers as the stimulus funding will be disbursed through mobile money service using Netone,” said Mr Majazi.

He said as an organisation they were in the dark regarding when the Covid-19 stimulus package would be disbursed.

“We are not sure as to when the funds will be disbursed but we’ve been informed that its something that will be done very soon,” he said. —–chronicle.co.zw

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