PeP STATEMENT No.72 ISSUED ON THURSDAY, 9th SEPTEMBER 2021: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
1. As Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP) we strongly believe that the creation of the new Ministry for Small & Medium Enterprises is an unnecessary duplication to the mandate of the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry. The Small Enterprises Development Act of 1996 defines an SME as an enterprise with an annual turnover of not more than K80 million. This means that when you look at the nature of business entities operating in Zambia, more than 90% of them can be classified as SMEs. On the other hand, the mandate of advancing the interests of Zambian businesses falls under the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry. This means that with the creation of the new Ministry of Small & Medium Enterprises, there will be a 90% overlap between the two ministries, as they will be servicing the same entities in the economy.
2. As Patriots for Economic Progress our considered view is that if President Hichilema wanted create an additional ministry to advance the interests of minorities in the economy, he should have considered creating a Ministry for the Informal Sector. Several World Bank studies have revealed that Zambia’s informal sector accounts for at least 40 percent of our economy and is made up of marketeers, street vendors and other traders in the grey economy. Additionally the informal sector is not captured in the measurement of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and its participants do not have adequate access to the banking system. This means that the informal sector players face unique challenges which require the intervention of Government through the establishment of a dedicated ministry. Part of the mandate of such a proposed Ministry for the Informal Sector would be to help entities in the informal sector to transition to the formal sector so that they can contribute to the country’s GDP.
3. As Patriots for Economic Progress we therefore call upon President Hakainde Hichilema to consider abolishing the Ministry of Small & Medium Enterprises and instead replace it with a Ministry for the Informal Sector. Such a move will achieve two key benefits; firstly it will help address the duplication that currently exists between the Ministry of Small & Medium Enterprises and the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, and secondly it will help to address the special needs of players in the informal sector and help them to transition to the formal sector. Such a scenario would significantly contribute to the much needed growth of our economy and result in the creation of the much needed employment especially for the youth.
Thank You and May God Bless the Good Citizens of the Republic of Zambia and Our Hopeful Nation.
SEAN E. TEMBO (SET)
PATRIOTS FOR ECONOMIC PROGRESS (PeP)