SMME Hotline facilitates R280 million payments
20 May 2012
The Public Sector SMME Payment Assistance Hotline set by government to fast-track timely payment for SMMEs had answered in excess of 25 000 calls and facilitated payments in excess of R280 million to small enterprises by February this year. This was said by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies during the tabling of the departmental budget vote in the National Assembly on Friday.
The hotline was established by Davies in September 2009 with the objective to ensure that late payments (unpaid for more than 30 days after submission of invoice) are kept to a minimum and Small Medium Micro Enterprise (SMME)s liquidity is not negatively affected.
"The National Treasury has issued practice notes to all national and provincial departments including the State-Owned Enterprise (SOEs) on the requirement of 30 days payment to SMMEs in accordance with Treasury regulations with a view to address cash flow challenges faced by these enterprises," said Minister Davies.
Since its formation, the hotline has taken up 7 109 late payment queries with public sector institutions on behalf of SMMEs and, of these, 5 155 have been successfully resolved.
In the two-and-a-half years the Hotline has been operational it has identified common challenges, faced by both SMMEs and public sector institutions, which lead to late payments. Challenges faced by SMMEs include: SMMEs are not informed of payment process requirements i.e. registering on the service provider database and information required for accounts system.
The Public Sector SMME Payment Assistance Hotline can be reached on 0860 7663 729 (0860 SMME PAY) or through its website at www.acall.co.za.
Minister said the DTI's primary purpose in supporting the government’s overall strategy was to create decent employment through Inclusive Economic Growth. This, said Minister Davies commits the department to contributing to the New Growth Path’s target of creating 5 million decent jobs by 2020, while simultaneously raising the growth rate and reducing inequality.
"We are putting productive activities at the fore in order to bring about a major shift from the consumption driven, and import intensive, growth path we had been on in the years before the Great Recession of 2008/09. To this end, we have made a number of significant breakthroughs. First, we have stabilised the Clothing, Textiles, and Leather and Footwear industries; second, we have turned around the automotives industry; thirdly, we have helped prompt an increase in employment in the Business Process Services (BPS) sector and fourth, we have assertively adjusted public procurement so that it can act as a vehicle to promote local production," added Davies.
Also speaking in the National Assembly, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Elizabeth Thabethe said the primary agenda of any country that was geared towards developmentalism such as South Africa, was the creation of a vibrant private sector, the development of entrepreneurship and creation of small and medium-sised enterprises. SMMEs stimulate private ownership and entrepreneurial skills, they are flexible and can adapt quickly to changing market demand and supply situations.
"To improve entrepreneurial capacity, government has begun scaling-up small business incubation programmes through the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) and private initiatives. As at the end of December 2011, incubators through the Seda Technology Programme (STP) had created 189 new SMMEs and 931 jobs. We also intend to accelerate our efforts to upscale the incubator programme intended to bring about a significant increase in the number of new SMMEs and jobs being created," said Thabethe.
Sidwell Medupe (Departmental Spokesperson)
Tel: 012 394 1650
Cell: 079 492 1774
Issued by: Department of Trade and Industry
20 May 2012
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