Small business is big business, minister Jeff Radebe said on Tuesday, 6 September, at an imbizo held at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg.
“A total of 47% of our country’s people are employed by the small business sector. That is 7,3-million people,” said Radebe.
As Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation and Chairperson of the National Planning Commission, he is tasked with giving life to the vision of the National Development Plan’s (NDP) Vision 2030 which includes the creation of 11-million jobs by 2030. “This cannot be possible if we don’t support the small business sector. The government is aware of this.”
A major focus of the imbizo was the challenge small businesses faced when it came to payment for services delivered to government. The minister promised a 30 day payment intervention to fast-track the payment of suppliers. The 30 day payment intervention is created in line with the NDP’s priorities to reduce poverty, unemployment and inequality.
Radebe said the government is aware of the frustrations entrepreneurs have, especially relating to red-tape and policies. “Small businesses remain vulnerable… We [the government] shall continue to put measures in your sector to thrive.”
The 30 day payment-programme
Part of the intervention is to roll out supported programmes, said Radebe. “This includes visits and inspections being done [at departments] to address the issues relating to non-payment. “We will assist government departments to put measures in place to make sure payments are done.”
A study will be conducted on why payments are not done accordingly. Additionally, Radebe said his department will work together with the Department of Treasury to attend to queries. “There will be a walk-in office at the department of treasury.”
He urged the public, especially suppliers, to also play a role and added that corruption,
no matter how small, should be reported.
In one instance, an entrepreneur [a supplier] from KwaZulu-Natal told Radebe and the panel that he lost his house and cars because of late payments. Another entrepreneur has been waiting for payment for two years.
Radebe said it is not right that suppliers are paid long after 30 days, because their livelihoods are affected. “The 30 day payment has to be adhered to. People [in government] need to be charged for financial misconduct if they don’t adhere to the 30 day payment period. Small business [suppliers] should be paid within 14 days.”
Radebe said the problem of small business owners receiving late payments is not unique to the government. Private sector is just as guilty.
Mzwandile Masina, executive mayor of Ekurhuleni Municipality, appealed to entrepreneurs to make sure that they deliver quality services. “Work with us to provide quality services. If you build a house, do it the best you can. Someone is going to live in that house.”
In a speech about his 10 year plan, Masina said one of his plans is to help people in townships to realise their dreams. He said there will also be a policy implemented to encourage people to buy local products or services.
Any queries relating to the 30 day intervention can be sent to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
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