‘Bikes were distributed’

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SMALL and Medium Enterprises minister Sithembiso Nyoni, pictured, says motorbikes, which a parliamentary portfolio committee claimed were left to rot, were distributed to district officers a long time ago.

In a report presented in the National Assembly by the parliamentary portfolio committee on Small and Medium Enterprises Development recently, the ministry had reportedly said it was still training its district officers on how to use the motorbikes.

But Nyoni yesterday countered the claims.

She said the motorbikes were distributed in April 2019.

“Those motorbikes have since been intensively used on project monitoring missions. It is our intention to intensify efforts towards augmenting them in an endeavour to improve mobility.

“Currently, the ministry is in the process of procuring 20 vehicles for supervisory and operational work in an endeavour to improve delivery and visibility on the ground,” Nyoni said.

She bemoaned the lack of office space for her ministry.

“Funds permitting a lot can be done to ameliorate the situation, through the construction of composite offices at district and provincial level.

“The support given by the ministry to marginalised groups and communities utilising the Women and Community Development Funds is targeted at small projects with the objective of growing them into large viable enterprises.”
She said they were looking to support small-scale miners and farmers.

“At the entry point, the level of technological development will be elementary as envisioned in the report, hence for artisanal miners to be supported, beneficiaries get basic equipment, whilst in agriculture, farmers get among other things, equipment for solar energy to power their equipment.

“The nurturing of the entities is progressive beginning with micro entities which through mustering the skills graduate to small and eventually medium to large enterprises.

“This graduation programme will soon be rolled out province by province.

“This is in tandem with the life cycle development of a business venture in line with the socio-economic environment.

“Business has to grow, through mentoring an objective espoused by the ministry within the constraints of budgetary support and the catalytic role of government, in an endeavour to empower its citizenry,” she added.

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