Dept of SME Development taken to task

(Shutterstock)
(Shutterstock)

Cape Town – The Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development has expressed unhappiness with what it sees as a lack of consultation between the department and the broader retail sector.

“It is unbelievable that since its inception, the department has not consulted with the sector in order to determine what was required in order for small, medium and micro enterprise (SMME) companies as well as co-operatives to enter the retail market in a sustainable manner,” said Ruth Bhengu, committee chairperson.

The committee met with the chair of the Ackerman Pick n Pay Foundation, Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, and Pick n Pay buyer, Paulo Peereboom, on Wednesday to be briefed on the opportunities that existed in the retail sector and the challenges faced by SMMEs and co-operative suppliers.

The two entities of the Department of Small Business Development, namely the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (Sefa) and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda), also appeared before the committee.

READ: Small business minister markets SA to the world

Ackerman-Berman reported to the committee that Pick n Pay stores offered a sustainable market to SMMEs and co-operatives, but that a lack of capacity to meet demand hindered the doing of business with most SMMEs.

She said most SMME companies had good products that were needed in the market, but they lacked financial resources to increase their production volumes.

It is against this backdrop that the committee was unimpressed with the department, Seda and Sefa for having failed to establish the crux of the retail business.

“There is a need for co-operation and mutual understanding between the department, entities and the retail sector so that the department can be able to come up with mechanisms tailored to address the challenges faced by SMMEs and co-operatives,” said Bhengu.

The committee gave the department time to co-ordinate consultations between its entities and the retail sector and it must report back to the committee on how it will assist the SMMEs and co-operatives going forward.

ALSO READ: Business confidence falls to 16-year low

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