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Govt to support SMEs’ at Shanghai Expo

2010. 10 March

THE Government has pledged full support to Small and Medium Enterprises to ensure their successful participation at the Shanghai World Exposition 2010 scheduled to run between May and October this year in China.

by Golden Sibanda

( Secretary for Media, Information and Publicity George Charamba said President Mugabe was passionate about SMEs and pledged Government’s support
to ensure they project a true image of Zimbabwe when they exhibit at the exposition.

Mr Charamba said Government could not afford to let SMEs bear all the costs and risks associated with participation at the forthcoming Shanghai World Expo.

"By now we should have been buying space in Chinese newspapers and going there to display wares, with all costs met by the Government," said Mr Charamba.

Sixty SMEs from across the country have confirmed their participation at the world exposition to be attended by more than 200 countries and between 70 and 80 million visitors.

Local business organisations such as the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, Business Council of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce and Chamber of Mines will also grace the exhibitions during a national day in August when the world’s attention at the expo will fall on Zimbabwe.

The Shanghai World Expo 2010 will be run under the theme "Better City Better Life" while the country’s theme is "Transforming Communities for Better Life".

Mr Charamba, however, urged SMEs to be patriotic and fly the Zimbabwe flag high by ensuring their wares and artefacts have a distinct Zimbabwean identity.

"When you take your products to the expo, you are not just carrying your commodities, but the face of Zimbabwe as well. You will be carrying the power of Zimbabwe to project itself outward for better or for worse. If you think you are stateless, nameless or got no identity, you are wrong," he said.

Mr Charamba said there were misconceptions about the true location of national assets such as the Victoria Falls because of failure by the country to market them, with countries such as South Africa marketing them as their own.

The small businesses could also take advantage of the forthcoming event to negotiate duty exemption from the Ministry of Finance for all goods of a capital nature that they may bring back from China.

"Through your parent ministry, you may need to engage the Ministry of Finance now before you go and not when you return from the expo," said Mr Charamba.

The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Small to Medium Enterprises Mrs Evelyn Ndlovu said the Government through its all-weather friend China would foot most of the costs of the exhibitions for the SMEs.

She said the Government was looking at the costs of exhibitions to see where it can help and could also provide the participating SMEs with loans for them to meet financial obligations associated with the world exposition.

"If there is need for loans for you to have some things done we are prepared to help you," said Mrs Ndlovu to much applause by the SMEs.

Government has also negotiated with Air Zimbabwe for discounted air tickets to reduce the cost of flying to China for the SMEs.