The Citizen (Tanzania)
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Dar es Salaam. The government needs to provide operators of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with marketing skills, experts said yesterday.

The experts told a stakeholders’ roundtable meeting on accelerating innovation and growth of SMEs here yesterday that the government must also provide SMEs with market research building capacity to promote their competitiveness.

According to the director for the Small Enterprises Promotion and Training Programme at the University of Leipzig in Germany, Prof Utz Dornberger, with the right expertise, SMEs will be able to familiarize themselves with competition and thus grow. “Market research is important because competition is tough these days and for an SME to win, it has to go an extra mile by understanding the context in which they are trading,” he said.

In his remarks, Tanzania Private Sector Foundation executive director Godfrey Simbeye said SMEs need to be empowered with cheap credit for them to be able to carry out marketing studies and contribute significantly to the economic growth.

He also said commercial banks were offering loans at inordinately high lending rates of at least 25 per cent. Mr Simbeye said the full potential of SMEs was yet to be tapped due to a number of constraints.

They include unfavourable legal and regulatory framework, underdeveloped infrastructure, poor business development services, limited access of SMEs to finance, ineffective and poorly coordinated institutional support framework among others.

To address the challenges, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Prof Adolf Mkenda, said the government last week launched a task force comprising members from all ministries to collect all proposals of the private sector and work on them.