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Ramaphosa vows change for small businesses

Feb 20 2018 18:20
Lameez Omarjee

Cape Town – President Cyril Ramaphosa’s walkabouts in Cape Town has afforded him opportunities to meet small business owners who have shared their grievances of the challenges impeding the growth of their business.

Ramaphosa, who delivered his reply to the State of the Nation Address debate at Parliament on Tuesday, shared how he had met South Africans who want to “contribute and make a difference”.

One businessman who owns a textile factory that employs 65 people shared with Ramaphosa his plans to expand his business. This after being inspired by the president’s address on Friday where Ramaphosa highlighted the prospects for South Africa.

Another citizen told Ramaphosa that the high data costs is the biggest challenge to the success of her business.

Ramaphosa assured, and reiterated Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel’s announcement that government will prioritise bringing down data costs.

The competition market inquiry into data services is the mechanism which will be used for that task, said Ramaphosa.

“Government is working to create a conducive environment for investment in efficient networks that enable the reduction of costs, enhance competition and remove barriers to entry by small businesses,” he said.

“We will expedite our engagement with industry to conclude the allocation of radio frequency spectrum, creating regulatory certainty and predictability.”

Another area which is to be addressed is the red tape holding back entrepreneurs. Ramaphosa spoke of an entrepreneur who had written to him via Facebook, expressing his disappointment in the red tape which was stopping his business - which could create jobs - from getting off the ground.

“The frustration that these entrepreneurs have to endure at the hands of the very State that is supposed to assist them is a matter of great concern,” said Ramaphosa.

He raised concern over government departments which delay payments to suppliers. “It is clear that the failure of some government departments to pay suppliers within 30 days has a devastating impact on small and medium-sized businesses.”

Ramaphosa said that this will be addressed when he visits government departments in the next few months. “This has caused far too much damage, particularly to emerging black business,” said Ramaphosa.

As he concluded his address, Ramaphosa noted that a lot of work has to be done. “I am certain that if we harness the energy, wisdom and talents of all South Africans, we will surely succeed,” he said.

Once again he reminded South Africans to volunteer to say: “Yes, send me.”

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