Ramaphosa touts buying local as job creator
DURBAN - President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa this week encouraged private-sector role players to buy locally manufactured goods in order to reduce unemployment.
The president made these comments on Thursday during a webinar on small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) and co-operatives, endorsed by the Department of Small Business Development.
“We really need our corporates to come on board for us to build strong local capabilities. We are not asking corporates to buy goods for the sake of buying locally. We are saying that they should buy local quality goods that can compete with the ones that they are importing and that create much-needed jobs in the country,” Ramaphosa said.
Ramaphosa said that in order to achieve an inclusive economy, we need to more effectively support the growth of vibrant and SMMEs and co-operatives.
Ramaphosa said there was no excuse not to buy locally.
Ninety-eight percent of SMMEs in South Africa make up formal businesses but contribute very little to the country’s gross domestic production (GDP), the president explained.
Ramaphosa said that the development of SMMEs will help the country achieve the National Development Plan for SMMEs, which are estimated to create at least 90% of a targeted 11 million new jobs by 2030.
The government has also set targets for previously disadvantaged people, to help them play a role in the rebuilding of the economy.
“At least 40% must go to women-owned enterprises, 30% to youth-owned enterprises and 7% to companies owned by persons with disabilities. These targets apply across government, and all departments are expected to deliver on them,” the president said.
Following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa, which forced businesses into a financial slump, primarily small and medium- sized concerns, Ramaphosa said that interventions meant to help these businesses had been successful.
This was done through the establishment of a R500-million SMME debt relief scheme, which was funded by the Department of Small Business Development along with the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA).
“It has been reported that, as a result of the funds paid out under this scheme, over 23,000 jobs were saved. Of the SMMEs approved for support, 67% were black owned, 33% were female owned and 21% were owned by young people,” the president said.
Ramaphosa added that SEFA’s extended payment holidays on capital and interest payments benefited 220 direct-lending clients and six wholesale-lending clients and resulted in 37,000 jobs being saved.
“As we make the transition from relief to recovery, it is critical that we continue to provide support to enable companies to recover,” Ramaphosa said.
African News Agency (ANA)