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South Africa aims 11m new jobs by 2030 through boosting of SMMEs

By Oluwaseun Sonde

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The South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa has said that the Government aimed of achieving goal of National Development Plan to create at least 90% of the targeted 11 million new jobs by 2030, while paying far closer attention to developing small businesses. 

Ramaphosa made this known on Thursday at the Virtual Engagement with Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises and Cooperatives (SMMEs) sector that has a leading role in driving South Africa’s economy, he stated that to achieve an inclusive economy, there’s need to do more effectively to support the growth of vibrant and sustainable SMMEs.

According to him, “In South Africa, 98% of formal businesses are SMMEs, they make a far smaller contribution to employment and GDP. The Department of Small Business Development, together with the Small Enterprise Finance Agency, reprioritised over R500 million to establish the SMME Debt Relief Scheme.

“This was to help small businesses stay afloat during this difficult time. It has been reported that, as a result of the funds paid out under this scheme, over 23,000 jobs were saved. Of the SMMEs approved for support, 67% were black owned, 33% were female owned, 21% were owned by young people, and only 0.3% were owned by persons with disabilities”.

He added that Small Enterprise Finance Agency extended payment holidays on capital and interest payments of up to six months to 220 direct lending clients and six wholesale lending clients. “The total value of interest and capital repayments foregone by SEFA was approximately R106 million, resulting in over 37,000 jobs being saved.

“Given the limitation of resources it is commendable that so many businesses received support within such a short space of time. To some of these enterprises this has been life support. As we make the transition from relief to recovery, it is critical that we continue to provide support to enable companies to recover.

“We therefore set up major schemes like the credit guarantee scheme  of R200bn. At the same time, we need to introduce new business processes, technologies and equipment to assist them to adjust to the new reality. The Department has developed a Business Viability Scheme that will help to position SMMEs to drive economic recovery”, he said.

Ramaphosa was impressed with the targeted interventions the Department extended to help enterprises in townships and rural areas. “I say this advisedly because these areas have been neglected for a long time . We need to accelerate the implementation of the Township and Rural Entrepreneurship Programme, which will bring a lot more people into the mainstream economy.

“Recognising the particular needs of different types of businesses, the Department has customised interventions for different sub-sectors. These include sectors such as automotive, personal care, clothing and textiles, bakeries and confectioneries, tshisanyamas and cooked food, fruit and vegetable vendors, butcheries and spaza shops”. 

He noted that one of the key elements of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan is localisation, and we expect SMMEs and co-operatives to play a central role in driving localisation. “They are nimble and have great insights. Some work has already been done by this department to introduce SMMEs and co-operatives to wholesalers and retailers. 

“To enable SMMEs and cooperatives to meet the potential demand, our Manufacturing Scheme is supporting these enterprises to build capacity to supply products in the right quality and quantity. As this administration, we have specifically set aside targets for designated groups. We do this unashamedly to help those who in the past were locked out of playing a role in our economy and to contribute to growth”, he said.


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