By Tatenda Mujeyi
The country’s local production and consumption motivational association ,Buy Zimbabwe, has engaged SME’s in Harare on a discussion that is geared towards generating knowledge on how they can better perform.
The dialogue tackled a variety of issues from certification, challenges, potential engagement areas, procurement issues, building competitive advantage among other issues geared at motivating SMEs.
“The real issue at the centre of the buy local initiative is mapping strategies that promote our SMEs considering the market potential that exists. According to a recent research, since dollarisation imports have increased by $32 billion. Of this, close to 42% could be substituted locally,” Buy Zimbabwe General Manager, Vandudzai Zirebwa said.
The meeting also informed SMEs on the need for compliancy to international standards especially following the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
“There is need for SMEs to understand the opportunities and threats SME’s since Africa has adopted AfCTA. In line with this there is need to build on competitive advantage as opening of the market calls for us to build regionally and internationally competitive brand,” SAZ Director Certification Sebastian Zuze said.
The meeting also emphasised how compliancy remained reliant on the creation of brands that are recognisable and competitive.
“There is need to be in sync with the quality expectations of the market, and assure quality to the market. Through having actionable plans, we could guarantee quality statements through ensuring brand awareness, and brand recognition that should guarantee brand loyalty from the market,” Zirebwa said.
The ministry emphasised its commitment to generate a clear understanding of the circumstances and in turn assist SMEs to fully realise efficiency.
Key compliancy issues include taxing compliance and standard compliance among other sector specific requirements.
“There is need for SMEs to increase their compliancy to standards. As Standard Association of Zimbabwe we offer free compliancy training. Of course you would need to pay for your product compliancy tests and certification,” Zuze said.
“There are levels of compliance that are supposed to be followed within the taxing framework.; Companies are required to lodge their taxing positions in the form of Income tax, PAYE, VAT, Presumptive tax, Withholding Tax as legislated,” Marvelous Chigwando a Supervisor with the taxing regulator ZIMRA said.
The dialogue was held in partnership with key industrial stakeholders that included ZIMRA, Standards Association of Zimbabwe, Small to Medium Enterprises Development Corporation (SMEDCO), Academia and other key stakeholders.