Nafcoc has urged the government to put measures in place to make it simpler and less expensive for small businesses to deal with state departments. File Image: IOL

RUSTENBURG  - The National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc) in North West province has urged the government to put measures in place to make it simpler and less expensive for small businesses to deal with state departments.

"The chamber believes that the central supplier database has been circumvented by many government departments and does not serve the full purpose for the small business," spokesman Tshepang Ramosepele said, noting that it was costly for small-scale vendors and suppliers to keep submitting standard bidding forms as well as tax clearance, personal identity and bank documents when bidding for contracts.

"It doesn’t serve the purpose to submit this information on the central supplier database only to be asked to resubmit them when one bids,"  Ramosepele said. 

"In the villages, small businesses do not have access to printing facilities and/or internet to print. Many have to travel to the nearest shopping centre or town which costs even more. This is costly and further pushes the small businesses in rural areas to the periphery of the mainstream economy."

Nafcoc proposed that the central supplier database system be upgraded to cater for online bidding for tenders of up to R500,000 and to target specific groups, for example women, young people and the disabled, for 40 percent of procurement opportunities across all government entities.

The system should become a resource platform for small businesses, for example on tax matters, and provide links to other resources, the chamber said, also calling for a special tax dispensation for enterprises with a turnover of less than R3 million per annum. 

"The income tax for these companies should be capped at 12 percent for the next six years to stimulate growth and sustainability. The current blanket tax regime does not help the growth of small business," Ramosepele said.

He urged the government to take a deliberate position to procure items and services valued at less than R500,000 only from black-owned companies. 

"This will help increase participation of black people in the economy. Government must also deliberately procure fresh produce for public hospitals from black farmers. This will stimulate growth and job creation in this sector," the chamber spokesman said.

Nafcoc also recommended that all spaza (informal) shops owners be registered with local municipalities for compliance and tax purposes.

"Local authorities must conduct random inspections at these spaza shops to check compliance on operating licences, health issues, fake items and other related issues. Those who violate compliance must be arrested and/or deported if they’re foreigners for failing to obey the laws of the country," said Ramosepele.

The call comes in the wake of the recent looting and burning of small businesses owned by mainly African and Asian immigrants whom locals accused of selling fake goods, among other gripes.

- African News Agency (ANA)