SMEs sink to save ministries

Budget cuts at the trade ministry led to reputational damage as it could help SMEs and create jobs, says minister Tjekero Tweya.

10 February 2020 | Economics

We watched them closing shops and we couldn’t do anything to help them survive. – Tjekero Tweya, Trade

The minister of industrialisation, trade and SME development Tjekero Tweya, on Friday said budget cuts in the 2019/20 financial year left his ministry unable to carry out its most critical functions.

Tweya made these remarks when he officially welcomed his staff for the New Year in Windhoek.

He said the ministry’s budget cuts were the highest of all ministries at 43%, which contributed to the ministry suffering serious reputation damage when it was unable to support SMEs to create employment.

“Funds earmarked for SME programmes were redirected from our ministry to other ministries and institutions for them to manage their operations, the entire SME funding was taken away. We watched them closing shops and we couldn’t do anything to help them survive,” said Tweya.

Imports

Tweya further said Namibia had a trade deficit of N$5.6 billion in the third quarter of 2019.

“This is mainly because we are not yet an industrialised nation. Imports have always been more than exports since independence, but there has been an improvement in the first quarter of 2019,” the minister said.

He stated that Namibia’s manufacturing to gross domestic product (GDP) decreased from US$4.7 billion in the second quarter of 2019 to US$4.5 billion in the third quarter of 2019.

“We have also improved our global competitive score from 100 in during 2018 to 94 during 2019, despite the downgrade of the country by the credit rating agencies such as Moody and Fitch,” Tweya said. - Nampa

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