Small enterprise promotion needs a boost [Archives:2002/16/Business & Economy]

April 15 2002

By Abdulaziz M. Abdulah
For The Yemen Times
Many experts believe that small enterprises play a pivotal role in reducing unemployment and alleviating poverty. And Yemen is in a dire need for such projects which will help local communities across the country to directly benefit from their economic activities.
Yet, small enterprise projects are still in their primes, and they need much support through enhancing legal frameworks, as well as making a full use of the services provided through the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), which plays a key role in funding and supporting such programs.
The Small Enterprises Promotion Project is one of the technical cooperation projects between Yemen and the Federal Republic of Germany under an agreement signed between the two countries in late 1998. The German Agency for Technical Cooperation runs two projects both in Aden and Taiz.
The projects’ key targets are to enhance the capacity of the small enterprises through providing technical assistance to small enterprise in these governorates.
Thus, local councils in Aden and Taiz where the GTZ operates should make a full use of the services provided by this agency. Local councils at these governorate should also strive to diversify the existing cooperation between Yemen and Germany in this field.
Thus, setting up a committee for promoting small enterprises, chaired by the secretary-generals of Aden and Taiz governorates, will be a good step for developing this sector of economy.
Persons who have outlined the basic program for the small enterprise believe that such enterprises can create so many job opportunities for their capability to spread across the country, including rural areas. The Small Enterprise Promotion Project organizes regular consultative meetings with representatives of the small enterprises and related governmental bodies with the view of improving the working condition at these enterprises as well as enhancing the capacity of self-employment initiatives.
Still, there many problems facing the small enterprises progress which can be summarized as follows: Lack of equipment and other machines required for the small enterprise industry; high electricity bills, plus the insufficiency of the electricity power provided by the government’s energy provider; high price of the plots of lands used for building the enterprise facilities; tax regulations pertaining to the small enterprises is still unclear; lack of funds required for setting up such projects; smuggling in general poses a real threat to the use of small enterprises.
Yemen should benefit from the experience and technical assistance of other countries in this field. This is essential for a developing country like Yemen where poverty and unemployment have turned to be epidemics. Government should also pay greater attention to this sector of economy and provided it with all facilities to help achieve a real development in the country.