The number of small businesses shutting their doors has raised alarm within the State Department of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Development, prompting a swift response through a series of intervention measures.
Festas Wangwe, Director of the central planning and monitoring unit in the State Department of MSME Development, expressed deep concern over this trend and unveiled the department's comprehensive efforts to address the issue.
"We are so concerned at the rate at which some MSMEs are closing. It is really alarming and it is now forcing us to step up our efforts in terms of nurturing these MSMEs so that they cannot wind up," Wangwe stated.
During a seminar in Mombasa organized by the Kenya Institute of Business Training (KIBT) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Wangwe commended the two organizations for their support in bolstering the sustainability of small businesses through training.
Wangwe also shed light on the challenges faced by MSMEs stating, "There are certain policies that we have to address that are really affecting the MSMEs, ranging from multiple taxes, especially from both national and county governments. We have efforts we are putting in place to harmonize this so that MSMEs can be supported."
He further emphasized the importance of capacity-building, highlighting JICA's contribution in this area.
"Another important thing, which JICA is addressing, is capacity-building, and we want to thank JICA for these efforts, which are already complementing what we are planning to do," Wangwe stated.
The JICA project, initiated in partnership with the Kenyan government in 2019, focuses on enterprises in Nairobi and its surrounding areas, Mombasa, Uasin Gishu, and Nakuru counties, and is set to continue until February 28, 2025, with potential for extension.
Hajime Iwama, the chief representative of the JICA Kenya office, recognized the project's primary focus on the manufacturing sector and its broader impact.
"We are privileged to have undertaken trainings and pilot consultations in Mombasa County this year, and we are grateful for the support provided by the county government," Iwama said.
The JICA project seeks to equip small enterprises with the knowledge required to access financing, including preparing financial documents for loan screening.
Furthermore, it fosters an ecosystem that facilitates SMEs in collaborating with trade and financial institutions, enhancing their business processes, and gaining support from financial institutions and investors.