Lifeline for SA's small businesses amid coronavirus outbreak

Small businesses will be given some reprieve
Small businesses will be given some reprieve
Image: 123RF/ALLAN SWART

Small businesses will be afforded financial relief during the coronavirus outbreak.

Small business development minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said the relief would be provided through a debt relief fund and business growth and resilience facility of the government.

The offer is part of the government efforts to mitigate the negative impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on business.

Ntshavheni announced a facility that is expected to keep small and medium business enterprises afloat during this time. Sowetan understands that the fund and the facility are part of a R1bn package aimed at assisting small businesses.

The debt relief fund, which small business would have to apply for, will assist with paying for their existing debts as well as staff as some business would have to scale down or shut down operations.

"This facility will also assist entities to acquire raw material, pay labour and other operational costs," Ntshavheni said.

"All these interventions will be structured to match patterns of the SMMEs' cash flows, as well as the extent the impact suffered."

The online platform where small businesses can apply for the funding is expected to be launched on Tuesday.

The facility would prioritise businesses that produce goods that are critical and in demand during the coronavirus outbreak. It will be focused mainly on businesses that produce things like toilet paper, sanitisers, masks and others.

"The business growth/resilience facility is specifically created to enable continued participation of SMMEs in supply value chain, in particular those who manufacture [locally] or supply various products that are in demand," Ntshavheni said.

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