The launch of the Group Purchasing Scheme – which aims to help businesses buy in bulk from their suppliers - follows a series of meetings with entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprise institutions and other stakeholders in textile, agriculture, mining, wood carving and aquaculture.
7 May 2008
Initiative will enable micro and small scale entrepreneurs to buy inputs in bulk from suppliers
The project, known as the Group Purchasing Scheme (GPS) is being supported by the Commonwealth Secretariat in conjunction with the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Namibia.
The launch of the GPS will be the fruition of a series of stakeholder meetings which were conducted in February and March 2008 to explain the concept to entrepreneurs, identify operational needs of enterprises to effectively use the GPS and identify key stakeholders in the different sub-sectors.
The meetings included entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprise institutions and other stakeholders in textile, agriculture, mining, wood carving and aquaculture.
According to Watipaso Mkandawire, an Enterprise Development Adviser with the Commonwealth Secretariat, the immediate aim of the project is to establish a Pilot Group Purchasing Scheme, which will enable small and medium enterprises buy goods and services in a more effective manner and access a wide range of markets that offer better quality of goods at more competitive prices.
The idea is based on the experience in the country where many Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) find it difficult and expensive to place individual retail orders for raw materials from big wholesale outlets—a factor that has led to lack of growth of the sectors that are dominated by Namibians.
It is hoped that with a GPS scheme and stronger sectoral clusters that this project has developed, micro and small enterprises operating in co-operatives will benefit from the advantages of group purchasing.
“The GPS is a support structure and vehicle through which these sectors thrive and become competitive,” said Mr Mkandawire.
In establishing the scheme, the Commonwealth Secretariat provided a business expert, Stanley Ansong, to assist in establishing clusters in the different trades, train entrepreneurs and facilitate the formation of the GPS.
Mr Mkandawire pointed out that in addition to ensuring that small businesses purchase inputs through the GPS at competitive prices, they must also be able to sell their products by having access to domestic, regional and international markets.
“We hope the Government of Namibia can expand the GPS into a Trading House, which would be able to buy the inputs in bulk, as well as become a vehicle through which enterprises can sell their products,” he said.
He noted that a Trading House could also assist the sectors to develop value added.
The initiative will be launched in Windhoek from 19 to 23 May 2008.