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Sunday, 11 April 2010 09:26

Trading Licences Registration Still Bureaucratic

By Faith Shongwe

EZULWINI, Swaziland, April 8, (Buziness Africa) – Some of the women in business allege there is a lot of bureaucracy, in terms of acquiring trading licences and registering businesses. This is one of the findings discovered by the consultants who were tasked to undertake a situational analysis of women in business in Swaziland, as well as the compilation of the women-owned business directory.


The consultants, University of Swaziland (UNISWA) lecturers Dumsile Nkambule, Winnie Madonsela-Kamalandua and Petronilla Oduor undertook the analysis on the instruction from the Business Women’s Forum Swaziland (BWFS).




Speaking during the launch of the women-owned business directory, UNISWA lecturer Dumsile Nkambule said some of the women interviewed during the analysis, especially those in the rural areas, said their businesses did not have trading licences because of the alleged bureaucracy that exists in the process of acquiring trading licences and registering businesses in the country.


“We have several key informants that we used for in carrying out the analysis and we also conducted indepth interviews. We used a total of 160 women in business as our sample for the analysis. Some of the limitations included the fact that the time we were given to carry out the analysis was not enough yet there was so much to do because most of the women in business are not concentrated along the Mbabane-Manzini corridor.


“We looked at the political, economic, socio-political and technological aspects and we realised that in as much as government has done a lot to assist women in this country, for instance, establishing all the structures that assist women, these structures are not addressing the real issues,” Nkambule explained.




She said the analysis pointed out that most of the women involved in business in the country were between the ages of 26 and 35 years.


“These were women in either the services or commodity sectors. We found that most of the business run by women are restaurants, general dealers, bars, while some are in the transport industry and some are into dress-making and salon businesses.


“There is very little innovation because most of the businesses in town are salons. Most of the interviewed women were sole proprietors who had a passion for the businesses they run,” she said.


Nkambule said the analysis revealed that most of the businesses started by the women interviewed were established with starting capital of between E1 000 and E5 000.


“This was mainly from their personal savings because most of these women had problems of securing finance from local financiers. We found that most of the women source their material locally because they cannot source them elsewhere due to the high costs involved and safety issues.


“Finance was the most pressing need for most of the women interviewed but we are happy that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has pledged to support women in business,” she said.


Nkambule also said most of the interviewed women in business had the common problem of securing markets for their goods and services.


“We discovered that some of them had problems with premises. In one of our site visits, we discovered that a room almost the size of a bathroom accommodated four women who run a dressmaking business. The women interviewed also said they face stiff competition.




“They also said there is too much bureaucracy, in terms of acquiring trading licences and registering businesses and some of the women in the rural areas have said their businesses do not have trading licences because of this,” she added.


Nkambule said after the situational analysis was complete, the team came up with several recommendations.


“These include the fact that government needs to put more effort in helping women in business to develop. Issues of financing women in business also need to be addressed. There is also needs for more research and support from all stakeholders,” she said.


Nkambule further noted that not all sectors were covered and included in the business directory, adding that it was hoped that the other sectors will be included for the next issue of the directory.


Involve women businesses in government tendering:

EZULWINI –There is no excuse for women owned businesses not to be included in government procurement. Chairperson of the Business Women’s Forum Swaziland (BWFS) Dudu Dlamini said they hoped the directory would strengthen relationships between the bigger companies and women-owned businesses in the country.


“I am proud to say that the directory was designed by a woman. I would like to ask government to continue supporting women and now that we have a business directory, there is no excuse for us not to be included in procurement and supported. To the big businesses and those run by men, please support us,” she said.


Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Federation of Swaziland Employers and Chamber of Commerce (FSE&CC) Zodwa Mabuza said companies that have not yet procured goods and services from women owned business should look at the director and consider procuring from these businesses.


She said this was because these companies would not only be empowering the women running the businesses but their communities as well.


“When one visits the Millennium Development Goals (MGDs) you realise that among these goals there are those that touch on poverty alleviation. When you look at Swaziland, you realise that poverty bears a woman’s face. One study says that women spend about 90 per cent of their resources into their families and the percentage is less for men. In essence, if we are to empower women, we empower their communities. We are still pleading with government to include empowering women in the Procurement Bill and we would also like to lobby for the Citizens Bill to also include empowering women,” she said.


She added; “Companies that have not yet procured goods and services from women owned businesses need to get a copy of the directory so that they too can support women owned businesses because they will be empowering a lot of communities.”


UNDP promotes gender based procurement 


EZULWINI – The UNDP is currently trying to promote the concept of gender based procurement within their organisation.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Deputy Resident Representative Neil Boyer said they wanted a situation where they can be able to track how their money was spent to see how much of it goes to businesses owned by women.


“The third Millennium Development Goal (MDG) focuses on gender equality and the empowerment of women. We want to put our money where our mouth is and this is why we are currently promoting the concept of gender-based procurement.




“Why should the food transported by the World Food Programme (WFP), for instance, not be transported by businesses run by women? Why should half of the services provided at the Neighbourhood Care Points (NCPs) not be services provided by businesses run by women?” he wondered.


Boyer said it would make good business sense if some of the services were given to businesses run by women. “We say we want to address poverty but I am afraid we will not be able to do this until we address gender issues. Time for talk is over and 2010 is the year for action for us at the UNDP,” he added.


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