A top black entrepreneur and business leader has asked the government for tax concessions and increased funding for small enterprises to enable them to enter the market, in the light of high unemployment rate and depressed economy.
Refilwe Monageng, CEO of the Black Entrepreneurs Alliance, called on the Ramaphosa administration to put measures such as more funding, a tax amnesty, lower taxes and less red tape to significantly reduce the obstacles preventing small businesses and entrepreneurs from entering the market.
“We need to see meaningful reforms, and purposeful investment, particularly for SMMEs and black entrepreneurs who have consistently been locked out of the economy,” Monageng said.
He put a finger on the continuously souring unemployment figures – now at 34.4%, up from 32.6 in the first quarter.
She believes this should spur the government to make a move for the SMMEs, which are the creators of jobs in the economy.
The jobless rate in South Africa is among the highest in the globe, particularly when considering that the expanded definition put it at the shocking level of 44.4%.
According to latest Statistics SA numbers, the youth are the hardest hit with the 15-24 years age group up to 64.4%, while the 25-34 years group had recorded 42.9% unemployment.
Monageng is concerned that during the period from quarter 1 (Q1) to Q2 the formal sector shed 375 000 jobs saying action was necessary to stem the tide of joblessness.
President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed that SA has lost about two million jobs that he attributed to the impact of the Covid pandemic.
During the ANC manifesto launch on Monday, Ramaphosa promised to counter this with relief packages for businesses and individuals in distress and hinted that obstacles that hindered small business growth such as expensive licence fees would be removed.
He undertook to protect local businesses from unfair competition from unregistered businesses.
Monageng said the spiralling unemployment required close cooperation between the public and private sectors to support the previously disadvantaged in the economy, “We call on government to once and for all put measures in place to significantly reduce the obstacles preventing small businesses and entrepreneurs to enter the market,” Monageng said.
He suggested that initiatives such as more funding, tax amnesty, lower taxes, less red tape, credit bureau amnesty, aggressive skills development through the Setas, and more flexibility in areas such as employment.
“It is critical for all of us to truly commit to genuinely transforming the economy for all, not just a select, connected few,” Monageng.