MINISTER of Small and Medium Enterprises Elias Mubanga says SMEs should exploit all sectors in order to help grow the country’s economy.

In an interview, Mubanga noted that once they accessed empowerment funds, most SMEs concentrated on specific sectors like agriculture as opposed to exploiting other opportunities.

“To grow the economy, it is not just the SMEs concentrating on one single sector for example agriculture. We have serious sectors that need to be exploited and SMEs need to see opportunities in these sectors. Zambia is dependent on almost everything that is needed for us to grow this economy. When you talk of energy, this is where the Ministry of Green Economy comes in. We have got waste all around the country and people can recycle and produce energy. And the SMEs are encouraged to get into all these opportunities that we have. The Ministry of SMEs is actually encouraging everyone in every sector to come forward and be empowered in whatever they would want to do,” he said.

And commenting on President Hakainde Hichilema’s call on the need to venture into waste management and produce energy, Mubanga said his ministry was ready to support such initiatives.

“Waste management, it is very important that we get into this. Malabo’s (dump sites) when they go there, they come to my Ministry, my office, Permanent Secretary’s office we will generate some recommendation so that they can go and tap into the waste management. But they must produce some energy for us to use domestically, even smaller power plants,” he said.

Mubanga also encouraged SMEs in rural areas to venture into solar energy production.

“The market is not just the chicken because you will hear most of the SMEs they want to get into chicken; they want to get into fish [businesses]. So I would encourage and I would want to urge our SMEs across the country to get opportunities like in the rural areas we want those that can come up and say ‘I want to get into solar kind of arrangement’. We want the schools to be powered by solar. Actually that is the agenda of government. We want to make sure that those in the rural outskirts of our country, they need to have clean water. We will use part of the CDF to sink boreholes,” said Mubanga.

“We want to make sure that the rural areas have flushable toilets. But all these things shall also require people with that mindset to say let me get into solar. And then power three, four, five schools ‘can I get a contract- this is a product I can give out’ and we are going to encourage them. We will look at their invention, we will look at what they want to do and then we will also recommend to the committee for CDF. So this is what we are encouraging and as you look into what I have just said, the SMEs need to be encouraged for these opportunities.”