Offshore funding to subsidise SME programs

Commerce and Industry Minister, Wera Mori, says offshore funding will be sourced to fund Small to Medium Enterprise Corporation programs in the country.

Minister Mori said while submissions will be made to the Government for funding in the 2018 budget, it may not be enough given the current economic period.

He said the Government is still committed to the SME sector and will continue to support them.

Before heading into a National Executive Council Meeting yesterday, Minister Mori stated that he expects the Government to allocate funding for projects which they can carry out nationwide.

However, he added that may not be sufficient and that there are other avenues for funding.

“The sort of money that will be allocated is not the sort of money that will help us to grow SME in the country. We have to be very serious. We’ve got to go and aggressively look for money elsewhere,” he said.

SME Corporation managing director, Steven Malken, said many of the organisation’s programs had been stalled over the last few years due to the lack of proper funding.

This is mainly off the back of the downturn in commodity prices affecting the government’s revenue generation, forcing a tightening on expenditure.

“A lot of our programs and activities have been put on the back burner if you like, or put on hold until we find the right thing,” he said.

“We just came into a time when the country was taking a downward slide in revenue sources and we, as a government-funded entity, depend entirely on the government. So it’s been really challenging tyring to implement a lot of the initiatives and programs that are in the policy and master plan.”

Minister Mori has announced that loan options are currently being looked at by his Ministry and the SME Corporation Board.

Cedric Patjole