The 7th edition of the SMEs International Expo drew exhibitors, participants and conference speakers from the business and political, local and regional spheres as they came together to leverage the power of SMEs in building the fortunes of Zimbabwe.
SMEs have been contributing significantly to Zimbabwe’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and their business operations are fraught with challenges hindering economic growth of the country. As the country has embraced the new political dispensation advocating for a conducive investor confidence, we trust to promote partnerships between Zimbabwean SMEs and foreign investors.
One of our objectives is to push for formalisation of the informal sector. To do this, we unveiled the Professional SMEs Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PSCCI) whose mandate is to represent the collective voice of SMEs, their views and concerns at national level to ensure they formalise to prepare them to contribute towards the fiscus.
Lack of finance as start-up capital or order financing has been a major bottleneck faced by SMEs.
Lack of a tax legislation to safeguard SMEs has seen most SMEs shunning away ZIMRA taxes, choosing to remain operating under informal operations. There is need for PSCCI to approach government to gazette legislation to reduced tax bracket percentage specifically for SMEs. Currently, SMEs and corporates are classified under the same tax bracket, regardless of size of the organisation, number of employees and annual gross turnover. Such legislation, if tabled before parliament as a bill, and if voted and passed into an act of parliament, has high potential to curb SMEs playing truant from remitting government taxes.
PSCCI therefore need to inculcate the notion that paying taxes boosts not only government coffers, but presents a professional and credible approach to do business in both the local and international business environment.
As the world has become a global village, business operations are also changing due to rapid global technological changes.
Gone are the days when payments were transacted in cash. The digital era has made it easier to communicate and transact among companies, locally and globally at a split of a second. PSCCI encourages SMEs to adopt technology in doing business in this new trajectory.
While some Zimbabwean SMEs remain adamant in adopting e-transactions and e-communication, it is necessary to conduct trainings for SMEs to be embrace e-commerce for faster and efficient modes of doing business.
Zimbabwean SMEs need to explore opportunities of doing business in the digital era by coming up with home-made technological solutions. They need to be innovative to ease the way of doing business. They need to implement strategies to achieve better results in this digital era.
As SMEs International Expo, we work with all SMEs in Zimbabwe, both the Micro SMEs (informal) and the established SMEs.
According to NAMACO, 2017 definition, an SME is an organisation whose annual gross turnover is US$850 000 per annum.
Most registered, established Zimbabwean companies are operating at or below this threshold. These macro- economic challenges have contributed to a larger extent to most MSMEs remaining informal, prejudicing the government of millions of uncollected revenue.
As we gear for the 8th edition of the SMEs International Expo, we are hopeful that the new economic order transcends into a positive vibe towards the growth and sustenance for SMEs in Zimbabwe.