The Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development has agreed to facilitate the establishment of a public-private partnership steering committee in the retail industry.
The purpose of the steering committee would be to bring about radical transformation of the sector, ensuring 70% local procurement in which 30% would go to black-owned businesses including Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises, and Cooperatives.
The Committee received presentations from retail companies and business organisations including Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), Woolworths, Massmart and Kohwa Holdings. Presentations focused on the opportunities that exist within big retail chain stores for Small, SMMEs and Cooperatives. Committee Chairperson, Ms Ruth Bhengu, said the steering committee would look into four aspects involving the retail sector including how much is circulating within the sector, what percentage of goods procured by major retail stores is manufactured from South Africa and by previously disaantaged individuals in particular, how many retail franchise stores are owned by Africans and lastly, what percentage of goods is imported from outside.
“The retail sector is central to transformation of the economy, considering that there is no single person who does not interact with the retail store on a daily basis in one way or the other,” Ms Bhengu said.
Although presentations did highlight the transformational agenda and progress made thus far from various retail stores, the Committee raised concerns about the fact that none of them touched on the 27 poverty nodal points that were mentioned by the President during his 2015 State of the Nation Address. “We need a coordinated sector in order to transform the economy and this meeting was a starting point,” she said.
Meanwhile, companies pledged their support for the establishment of a steering committee, but raised a number of concerns regarding issues that impede growth, such as government red tapes in processing land tenure and prolonged payment of services and products acquired by government.
Source : Parliament of South Africa