LocalNews Dominica government committed to development of SME sector by: – January 19, 2012 45 Views no discussions Tweet Share Share Alexander Stephenson: “The government of Dominica remains committed to the development of the SME sector in the country.”Executive Director in the Employment and Small Business Agency within the Ministry of Employment, Trade, Industry and Diaspora Affairs, Alexander Stephenson has announced that the government of Dominica is committed to the development of the Small and Medium Size Enterprise (SME) Development sector.Stephenson who represented the Minister with responsibility for Employment, Trade, Industry and Diaspora Affairs Dr. Colin McIntyre at Wednesday’s forum on SME’s that government’s commitment to the sector is based on that sector’s importance towards national and economic growth.He says although the requests for assistance to develop SME’s are enormous and the complaints of challenges faced within that sector equally enormous, the government has undertaken several initiatives to assist the development of SME’s.“Government’s commitment towards SME’s is rooted in the importance of this sector to national economic growth and development in terms of job creation, poverty reduction/eradication, the empowerment of entrepreneurs, etcetera. Among the many initiatives undertaken by this government recently, which could be characterized as being of direct assistance to SME’s is the establishment of the Small Business Support Unit in October, 2008.”Stephenson also highlighted the tremendous progress which the Small Business Support Unit has made since its inception. He said, “To date, over 2, 700 applicants have been received/processed and over 950 of these have been assisted financially. The overall impact at the household level and otherwise has been tremendous. Applicants are from all over the country and assistance is being requested for all types of businesses”.According to Stephenson while government’s assistance to the SME sector continues, “it is crucial that the appropriate policy and legislation is in place to ensure that our objectives are met”. He also stated that while the government has spent over $7 million in soft loans and grants through the Small Business Support Unit, “provision of credit or cash may not always be the answer to the many challenges confronting the SME’s”.The government is therefore seeking additional means of facilitating the development of the sector and made particular reference to the NDFD, DYBT, Aid Bank, the various commercial banks, credit unions, the DAIC, the Bureau of Standards, the DMA who have been working with the government in the development of SME’s.Stephenson proposes that a policy should be implemented which will “document government’s commitment to the development of the sector and therefore serve as a guide in the prioritizing and the implementation of actions agreed towards achieving pre-determined objectives”.He also anticipates that the policy will provide the legal framework within which SME’s will be assisted, which could be in the form of technical or financial incentives.Stephenson asks that all stakeholders; entrepreneurs, agencies and citizens appreciate the importance of the SME as its benefits which include; employment creation, emergence of new entrepreneurs to the establishment of businesses in areas where none currently exist, empowerment of women particularly rural women, expansion of cottage industries” are enormous.He urged the participants of the Forum to commit themselves to the development of the sector as well as national development. Dominica Vibes News Share Sharing is caring!