Image: Karl Westvig, CEO of Retail Capital

JOHANNESBURG - Minister Malusi Gigaba’s speech today will do little to instill the confidence South African businesses so desperately needs. 

With a revised economic growth projection of 0.7% for 2017, down from 1.3%, the market was hoping for a rallying cry supported by a meaningful and tangible plan to address over-indebted consumers and unsupported businesses. 

While we welcome the instruction that SMEs are to receive payment of legitimate invoices within the prescribed 30 days and failure to do so will result in accounting officers being charged for financial misconduct, the Minister appears to have missed the point.

As such a critical sector, employing 60% of SA’s workforce and contributing 57% of SA’s GDP, SMEs need a concrete plan with a single-minded objective to ease the burden of doing business so they can employ more people and contribute to economic growth.

There is also a crisis in credibility, which is leading to a general negative sentiment in the economy. 

Small Business Owners need to be confident of the environment before they invest in capital equipment and hire more staff. 

This budget speech does little to improve this sentiment. We expect business owners will adopt a wait and see approach before investing further.

Karl Westvig is the CEO of Retail Capital

- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE