Small and medium sized manufacturing companies are said to be producing outputs that are capable enough to substitute some imported goods.
This was intimated by Federal Small & Medium Manufacturing Industry Development Agency (FSMMIDA), which is about to hold the first round of the annual nationwide Small & Medium Manufacturing Industries Exhibition and Bazaar, planned to take place beginning from February 28
Asfaw Abebe, Director General of the Agency, stated that the exhibition/bazaar provides the platform to promote locally produced products to a broader group that may have a little or no knowledge of the quality and competitive level it has reached nowadays.
He added that some leather, agro-processing and chemical small and medium manufacturers have already started to export their products, while they participate in international bazaar held abroad and create business-to-business links with other firms.
Ashenafi Melese, Acting Director of Communications with the Agency stated that this year's exhibition aims at showing the local manufacturers have reached a level where they can substitute imported goods. "They have reached a level where they can make the general public be proud of their local products." Moreover, he indicated the need to expand their market through government procurement as well given that they are capably producing quality and innovative products.
Ashenafi opined that the country's planning to transform its economy from agriculture led to an industrial one, where the development of small and medium manufacturers is pivotal, and noted that there is long road ahead in order to achieve that and the government cannot alone do it. The Director also pointed out that the general public has to get involved in this endeavor, and one of the way through which the public can play their role is to trust and buy locally produced goods.
The Director also pointed out that the country's manufacturing culture is not yet matured, and wide-ranging activities that would help mitigate this and support small and medium manufacturing industries are being carried out by the government.
One is extending loans and financial support to the enterprises through Development Bank for their quest to capital goods. To this end, the Agency is working to provide working capital that would help them buy machineries and technologies that would facilitate their production, and in increasing their productivity. There were issues in this regard, said Asfaw, but we are attending to it by selecting the appropriate micro-finance institutions (MFIs), in collaboration with Development Bank, that would provide working capital (for machineries).
He also mentioned that there were issues in terms of getting the required input on the needed amount, and in delivering the machineries to the manufacturers on time, where various solutions are being given to rectify the issues, one of which is through Ethiopian Industrial Inputs Development Enterprise.
There are issues that a beginner country faces when it comes to the sector, the DG explained, "and we are working to provide solutions to them by diagnosing from the problems."
120 small and medium manufacturing firms are expected to participate on the exhibition, and the Agency is projecting up to 20 thousand visitors.