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SMEs Recount Losses After Shutdown Violence

Small businesses recorded heavy losses and casualties due to the national shutdown that hit the country the last week with Glenview Furniture Complex losing 80-90% worth of material, 263Chat can reveal.

Addressing various stakeholders from the SME sector in Harare yesterday, Minister of Women Affairs, Small and Medium Enterprises, Sithembiso Nyoni government was concerned about the effects of last week’s violence on small businesses and is looking at ways to assist in reviving the sector.

“As a ministry we are concerned about communities that are already of low income and want to see what can be done to revive these communities upon sharing the realities of what happened with an intention of seeing how we can have a recovery plan for SMEs and what it is that is needed to assist SMEs to re-open” she said.

Chairperson of the Harare Chamber of SMEs, Taurayi Marebo revealed that Harare suffered serious infrastructure damage and losses from the events that unfolded last week mainly in the high density suburbs.

“Harare just like Bulawayo suffered heavy casualties from the recent events. We had SMEs infrastructure destroyed and this really affected even the comeback.

“In Harare police stations were attacked with videos of officers running away, that alone affected the confidence of our entrepreneurs and they don’t feel safe right now in terms of security with the fear factor trading at about 80-90%.

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“In Harare we had a lot of SME properties and shops looted, vandalized and lots of the people lost their stocks with most SME businesses operating on a small capital which means that they lost and do not have anywhere to start from.

“We also had scenarios whereby SMEs who had developed good relationships with wholesalers and suppliers to an extent that they were getting products on zero deposit so that they pay later after sales. Those will not be able to pay and have no alternative and that will kill relations despite what happened.

“In Glenview the furniture was safe but the guys who sell raw material including textile was looted, majority of them lost about 8–90% of their stocks taken for free and these guys were targeting the best materials. In Mufakose the home industry where they manufacture dura walls lost almost everything and some of the blocks were used for stoning cars, barricading roads.” he explained.

According to Marembo, the damage was extreme and some of the SMEs have approached Harare Chamber of SMEs claiming to have lost equipment and stationary they use for welding.

He added, the SME sector in Harare will not be vibrant again if the challenges are not addressed, suggesting that a board that is recognized by financial institutions be created to guarantee loans that can be extended by these SMEs.

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Other provinces in the country like Mashonaland Central recorded the same casualties.

Despite the fuel price hikes, the SMES prefer for the fuel to be in supply so business does not stop.


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