Ministry of Finance preparing strategy on financing small businesses

04Jan 2022
Francis Kajubi
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Ministry of Finance preparing strategy on financing small businesses

PETTY traders have pleaded with the government to consider better places to relocate them with their businesses as Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning finalises collection of their views that will be used to prepare their financing strategy.

Petty traders at Mwenge market before their eviction last year.

In October last year, the government started roadside stationed petty traders and street hawkers in urban centres of the country to designated areas to ease congestion and improve on cleanliness.

But at the petty traders who include second hand clothing retailers, food vendors and merchandise hawkers are pleading with the state to rethink the exercise because some of the designated places are congested or located outside central business districts where a large number of clients are found.

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning is finalizing the process of writing a new Micro Small and Medium size Enterprises Strategy that will give lenders confidence to issue loans to the group which constitute a substantial number of self employed youth and women.

“How is the strategy going to work if the government itself has reached a conclusion of moving us to places where we can hardly find customers? Are those financial institutions willing to give loans to businesses that can be disturbed anytime anyhow?” questioned Damas Emmanuel, a petty trader dealing in used shoes at Mwenge market.

Emmanuel who has secured some tiny space along Coca-Cola road, argued that most of the petty traders in Dar es Salaam have been relocated to places where customers cannot easily reach them because they are located in the periphery.

Emmanuel’s argument was backed by Samira Ali, a second hand clothing petty trader at Mwenge market who argued that their businesses have completely been destabilised since the relocation was done without necessary preparations.

“It seems like some of the customers who are from the other side of the Bagamoyo highway where we used to be are not ready to walk down to this place hence our sales have dwindled,” Samira argued saying financing institutions cannot give credit to such unstable businesses.

 Giving an update on the new strategy, Assistant Commissioner at Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Dionisia Mjema told The Guardian that the process of canvassing views from the financial sector, development partners, MSMEs themselves, youth and women’s group to establish reasons behind financial institutions reluctance to give credit to the group has reached advanced stage.

“Our survey targeted to collect views from stakeholders on why are petty traders not given credit and why most SMEs don’t grow or prosper into companies or big businesses,” Mjema said adding that the stakeholders will be invited to a meeting to fine tune their opinions before the strategy is prepared. She said the financing strategy will cover all sectors including technology and innovation where a good number of young people are involved.