Good morning, ladies and gentlemen
Unlocking the potential of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMES), Cooperatives, township, and rural enterprises.
On Wednesday, we will be delivering our Budget Speech in the National Assembly. We will use the occasion to reflect on the road we have traversed since the department was proclaimed almost a year ago.
When we were tasked by the President to lead a programme of radical economic transformation through small businesses and cooperatives, we knew that we needed to mobilise the entire society, the whole of government and every ounce of our energies towards the fulfilment of this mission.
At the heart of our speech on Wednesday is the reflection on the state of the economy and to locate small business develop and cooperative development therein. We are of the firm view that small businesses and cooperatives can, if their potential is properly harnessed, become an effective instrument of economic inclusion and thus help us to defeat the scourges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
During the course of our first year, we devoted a considerable amount of time consulting and engaging key stakeholders. These consultations have enriched our approach and the content of our plans. We are in no doubt of the need to upscale support for SMMEs and Cooperatives. This will required unprecedented collaboration across all spheres of government and partnerships with the private sector.
Whilst we are continuing to implement existing programmes, we are reviewing all of them, including those that are sitting with our agencies, in particular, Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) and Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA). One of the key issues that was raised by SMMEs and Cooperatives during our interactions this past year was a need for government to offer business development services in an integrated manner. We are going to implement a colocation programme where we will ensure that together with provinces, municipalities, Development Finance Institutions and private sector partners, we offer both financial and non-financial support in one place
We have started engagements with sister departments in order to identify opportunities that lie within these departments and mechanisms of upscaling support. We are aware of the huge opportunities within the private sector through enterprise and supply development programmes.
Government has set aside 30% of appropriate categories of state procurement for purchasing from SMMEs, cooperatives, township and rural enterprises. We are vigorously engaging to ensure that in due course, National Treasury issue the Practice Notes to implement the set-asides programme.
We will pay focused attention on the 30 days’ payment issue and ensure we monitor compliance. Paying small businesses and cooperatives on time is critical to the sustainability of their businesses. We are working in working in collaboration with the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation as well as National Treasury.
Indeed, lack of access to finance has been identified as one of the major obstacles to the development and growth of small businesses and cooperatives. We are overhauling our approach to funding to ensure that it is in line with the principles and tenets of a developmental stage. The migration of Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) to the department gives us an opportunity to respond to the specific needs of small businesses and cooperatives in a coordinated way.
We will develop a business rescue strategy aimed at supporting SMMEs and Cooperatives in financial distress. We will also announce tailor-made funding instruments for enterprises owned by women and youth.
We are putting resources in township and rural economies to ensure that informal businesses become sustainable and graduate to the next levels. We will fast-track the implementation of the National Informal Business Upliftment Strategy (NIBUS) to drive government’s support to township and rural enterprises. We will work with local government on the review of by-laws affecting SMMEs and Cooperatives.
My department remains seized with the task of working with local and foreign nationals who are operating in the informal sector to find lasting solutions to the violence that gripped parts of the country in the last few months. We are working with the Inter-Ministerial Committee to address the underlying socio-economic causes of this challenge.
We will intensify our Red Tape Reduction Programme. Among other things, we will work with local government on the review of by-laws affecting SMMEs and Cooperatives.
We will be implementing the Gazelles programme which seeks to identify and strengthen high growth enterprises. It is hoped that the programme will have a real impact in the small business sector, as well as economic growth and sustainability.
We continue to be the voice of SMMEs and cooperatives in government.
Issued by: Department of Small Business Development
Source : South African Government