DURBAN - DEPUTY Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Nomalungelo Gina met business representatives in Howick this week to brief them about economic relief that is being provided because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the July unrest.
Gina said the government announced a R36 million economic relief package in July.
“The funds were spread across business support agencies. Recently, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel revealed that the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and National Empowerment Fund (NEF) had approved R1.5 billion in direct support, which could be broken down to 123 separate transactions representing 320 business sites.”
The deputy minister said that while the government was making funds available for relief, there were incidents where businesses were making fraudulent claims. “We are picking up in our processes that there are some instances of fraud, where business operators submit claims and indicate they were affected by the unrest, but when we do verification, we find there is no evidence. There are also incidents of double dipping, where a business will submit the same claim to different government agencies tasked with distributing grants. Others simply overinflate the extent of the damage in their businesses.”
Gina added that strong partnerships and relationships between the government and businesses were essential to ensure the advancement of the economy. “Without you (business sector) our economy would suffer and our communities would struggle with accessing some critical and basic services. Therefore, we value the role you play and we seek to give you as much support as we can to ensure that we succeed in moving our country forward.”