Zimbabwe: Govt to Bail Out SMEs

Informal traders and small to medium enterprises affected by the lockdown and needing help should approach the relevant ministries instead of hurling insults at the Government on social media, Women Affairs, Community and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni has said .

She said the Government was still open to assisting those whose income had been lost or slashed.

When President Mnangagwa announced an $18 billion economic stimulus package, this induced help from the formal sector and a $5 million kitty for vulnerable people and $500 million for small and medium businesses.

Vulnerable people register with the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and small businesses with Minister Nyoni's ministry.

Addressing the Midlands Covid-19 provincial taskforce in Gweru yesterday, Minister Nyoni said those needing help would not get any assistance from the social media.

"All I am saying is SME's must start applying. If they face problems, they must not go to the social media, they must come to the Ministry and we solve those problems so that they benefit from what the President has done for them. The President has put this money for them and they must have access to it," she said.

Minister Nyoni said Government was alive to the fact that there were a lot of people and businesses who had not received anything from the fund.

"I still want to say today, there are a lot of people that are still suffering as a result of the lockdown, and they should register and go to the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare for the cushioning fund.

"When they get there they will be vetted. We don't want our people to suffer silently because Government is there. Secondly, the President put a $500 million fund for our SMEs, and it will go through my Ministry and the Women's Bank. Let me announce that SMEs must not suffer alone. We are here for you," she said.

"We have worked with the Women's Bank and put funds into three tiers, one for the green field, if there are SMEs that have lost everything out there. The second one is the informal sector and the third is for SMEs that are still operating but are struggling," she said.

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