Economy cannot remain in the hands of a few - minister

The SA government will not allow the country's economy to remain in the hands of a few, Minister of Small Business Development Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said on Tuesday.

"To have economic freedom in our lifetime is our mission," she said.

Speaking during Parliamentary debates on President Cyril Ramaphosa's recent State of the Nation Address (SONA), Ntshavheni emphasised that the South African economy must be transformed for inclusive ownership. Reaching the goals set by the National Development Plan (NDP) is also crucial, she added.

Funding for young entrepreneurs is a key concern for her, as their businesses can in turn create jobs. At the same time, it is important for her that the government does not merely impose its views on the youth but obtain their input the process as well.

"We have plans, which include the expansion of incubation centres to support village and township enterprises," she said.

"The state must play an entrepreneurial role. The state is able to take some risks to enable the economy to grow." 

Blended model

She is in favour of what she calls a blended entrepreneurial funding model, and undertook to explain more about this when her department's budget is tabled.

Lack of market access remains a challenge, she said. That is why her department wants to create five markets where SMMEs and corporates can trade and collaborate to scale up. "Government will provide technical support to address, for instance, product quality, which can prevent market access," she said.

At the same time, she acknowledged that the survival rate of both SMMEs and corporates are very low, according to Statistics SA.

"It is common knowledge that the business world is moving online. Without an active role of the state, youth in rural areas and in townships are left behind. So, the government will be increasing enabling platforms for self-employed youth in those areas," she said.

"We are finalising agreements with the private sector for a much more co-ordinated effort for SMMEs and to have more impactful implementation."

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