The Micro and Small Enterprises Authority (MSEA) has spent at least Sh2.8 billion to support Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) in the country in the last five years, an official has said.
MSEA Director Edward Karani said the government had invested more than 1.3 billion in the last three financial years for infrastructure development and purchase of equipment for more than 150 Constituency Industrial Development Centres (CIDCs) in the last three years.
Eng. Karani at the same time said the authority, through the Kenya Youth Employment and Opportunities Project (KYEOP), had disbursed more than Sh1.5 billion in grants to MSEs and individual traders in the last five years.
“At the moment we have done more than 150 CIDCs across the 47 counties and the government has invested Sh1.3 billion to support them in regards to infrastructure, conducive working environment, connect them to power and also ensure that they have access to water,” he said.
Speaking at the Malindi CIDC where he presented working tools to the Malindi MSE Association, Eng. Karani said the authority was at the tail end of operationalizing an MSE Fund that is provided for under the MSE Act.
This, he said, was a second way in which the authority is supporting the sector to access funds for star-up or working capital to be able to enhance their businesses.
He said the authority had also signed partnership agreements with some local banks with the aim of enabling MSEs to access acceptable credit.
He said the government had also provided the traders with training opportunities to enhance their skills and abilities to produce quality products.
Eng. Karani said the government had initiated a programme known as recognition of prior learning and that CIDCs and adjacent technical institutions would be used as assessment sites where artisans would be assessed and issued with certificates of recognition.
He said the certificates would show what the artisans are able to do, and that this would enable them to access more opportunities which they have hitherto not been able to access due to lack of recognition of their skills.
He said the authority had also embarked on the process of registration and enrolment of MSEs in order for the government to effectively address their challenges.
He called upon all traders and people in the service sector, agri-business and manufacturing to register themselves with the Registrar of MSEs so they can be recognized and supported.
The Chairman of the Malindi MSE Association, Mr. Famau Mohamed Famau, thanked the government for providing shelter and equipment for the artisans at the Malindi CIDC and urged artisans who have not joined the association to join so they can also benefit.
He welcomed the idea of recognition of certificates for the artisans saying this would enable them to secure tenders from various entities as opposed to the current scenario in which they do not benefit from government tenders due to lack of the certificates.
“The lack of certificates has been a great challenge to juakali traders because they are always asked to prove their abilities through certificates whenever they apply for tenders and we are happy that the authority is working on issuing certificates of prior learning to juakali traders,” he said.
The Chairman of the Malindi Juakali Artisans Association, Mr. Paul King’oo and the Chairperson of Haki Disabled Groups, Ms Sophie Banzi Ckokwe, called on the MSE authority to build stalls around the Malindi CIDC to enable them sell their ware.
They complained that although they were producing high quality products, they were unable to access markets.
By Emmanuel Masha