Trade, Industry and Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG –The Black Business Council (BBC) on Monday welcomed the allocation of R40 billion to support an additional 400 black industrialists in the Black Industrialists (BI) Programme over the next five years.

During his budget vote debate in Parliament last week Thursday, minister of Trade, Industry and Economic Development, Ebrahim Patel, said the government would accelerate efforts to support black industrialists.

"To enhance the growth of black industrialists, we will combine the efforts of the department, the IDC [Industrial Development Corporation] and the NEF [National Empowerment Fund] into a seamless and co-ordinated programme,” Patel said.

The Black Industrialists Programme, seen as a key element of broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) and socio-economic transformation, aims to unlock the potential of industrialists in key sectors of the economy through deliberate targeting and well-defined financial and non-financial interventions.

"The BI programme is a brainchild of the BBC and we believe that the extra funding will bring much-needed relief, as well as to attempt to solve the biggest hurdles of our members - access to capital and markets," said BBC chief executive, Kganki Matabane

Matabane said the BBC would work closely with Patel and would take the learnings and  lessons from the initial BI programme to improve the application process including turnaround times. 

"SMMEs are the backbone of any economic growth and this fund will go a long way in addressing the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality," Matabane said.

African News Agency (ANA)