MINPMEESA RAISES AWARENESS AMONG VSEs/SMEs ON THE NEED TO ENSURE THAT IMPORT-SUBSTITUTION PRODUCTS COMPLY WITH STANDARDS

MINPMEESA > News > MINPMEESA RAISES AWARENESS AMONG VSEs/SMEs ON THE NEED TO ENSURE THAT IMPORT-SUBSTITUTION PRODUCTS COMPLY WITH STANDARDS

On Thursday 21 July 2022, the Minister of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Sopcial economy and Handicrafts, Achille BASSILEKIN III, presided over the “awareness-raising workshop for VSEs/SMEs on the necessity for import-substitution products to meet standards” at the Yaounde International Handicraft Centre. This workshop is part of the development of a productive private sector capable to promote the competitiveness of national companies in the dynamics of the development of manufacturing SMEs. This awareness-raising which is an important step in ensuring the success of the “import-substitution and export promotion mix” policy, concerns three priority sectors likely to favour the densification of Cameroon’s industrial fabric, notably “agro-industry”, “cotton-textile-clothing-leather” and “wood processing”.

While chairing this workshop, the Minister of SMESEHs emphasised that this is a participatory approach that has been launched and that will gradually be extended to all VSEs/SMEs and to all sectors of activity. He invited his various targets to make use of the various lines of credit obtained from donors to expand the scope of their activities. He also indicated that the acquisition of these standards will certainly encourage quality local production, curb the shortage and promote the export of Cameroonian products abroad.

The general objective of the workshop is to contribute, by enhancing quality, to the improvement of the competitiveness of Cameroonian consumer products on domestic and external markets. The aim is to enable the domestic supply of targeted consumer products to meet the requirements of current standards and to reverse the trend towards massive imports of similar products. Specifically, it was about presenting the mechanisms put in place to reduce the costs of acquiring standards and preferential prices for SMEs and VSEs. And also present the catalogue of existing standards for products from the selected priority sectors; identify new products for which there is a need for support in acquiring standards; draw up a standards sheet for the new products identified in each sector; set out the concepts and disclose the basic principles for drawing up standards in agri-food production. Finally, it has been a question of presenting to the SMEs the advantages of the implementation of the quality management system and to edify them on the certification procedure at ANOR for these import-substitution products. For the appropriation of all these objectives, two experts were brought in, namely Mr Zé Maximillien, Head of the Competitiveness Unit of MINPMEESA and Mr Iya Abdoul Baguy, promoter of VINC Consulting specialised in the support of SMEs in standards.

The twenty or so companies in the priority sectors identified for the workshop include the leading players in three priority sectors. In addition to these SMEs, the workshop also witnessed the participation of officials from MINPMEESA, MINEPAT, MINCOMMERCE and ANOR.

            The workshop served as a space for dialogue to dispel misunderstandings and improve participants’ knowledge of the possibilities, requirements and advantages of standardisation and/or certification of their products. The twenty or so SMEs present have been amply informed about the facilities and procedures for acquiring standards in the 3 sub-sectors identified.

At the end of the workshop, the participants’ representative expressed their gratitude to MINPMEESA and the Minister, particularly for the permanent support to SMEs and VSEs. The participants promised to capitalise on the lessons learnt and acknowledged that they had been enriched by the experience. Recommendations were made to the various actors.

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