MOST LOCAL SME PRODUCTS DO NOT MEET THE REQUIRED QUALITY STANDARDS AS YET


The Director of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Trade, Mluleki Dlamini says most local products produced by small medium enterprises (SMEs) do not meet the required quality standards. The Director, however, did clarify that it is not all small businesses that face this challenge, as there are entrepreneurs that have done extraordinary well in ensuring that their products meet the required quality standards.Dlamini was speaking during an interview with the Eswatini Broadcasting & Information Services (EBIS) on their morning breakfast show. He said as a ministry they have realized that this cuts across most economic sectors of the country. The Director said this was one of the reasons most SMEs struggled to penetrate the market, and do not have their products in leading retail shops in the country. He said each product has its own quality standard and shops are also expected by consumers to uphold quality standards, which is where most SMEs fall short. He added that some of the standards that shops look at are branding, certification, trademark and good product packaging. He noted that another challenge faced by SMEs trying to penetrate the commercial market, and specifically shops, is inconsistency. “The challenge isn’t only the quality of the product, but also factors such as consistency, where entrepreneurs fail to deliver products on time, yet they have a signed a contract with a retailer” he said.On the positive side, Dlamini noted that the Ministry is doing all it can to assist SMEs deliver better quality products. “The truth is that we should be assisting SMEs to reach these quality standards. One of the initiatives we came up with to ensure this happens is the Buy Swazi campaign which is aimed at promoting the purchase of locally produced products” he posited. Moreover, he stated that they have collaborated with entities such as Eswatini Standards Authority (ESWASA) to empower and educate SMEs about quality assurance standards. Finally, Dlamini cautioned entrepreneurs to firstly do the necessary due diligence, before rushing to launch a product.


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