Acknowledging the devastating impact COVID-19 has had on the global economy, the President has announced the reconstruction and recovery plan for SA, with a focus on inclusive growth.
Some of the main focus areas are job creation and reindustrialisation of the economy. Examples of where the impact could be felt by SA SMEs includes the following.
- The government plans to bring forward the rollout of various large infrastructure projects, which typically have a positive knock on effect on SMEs that are suppliers to big projects and their ecosystem.
- The government has also extended the COVID grant by a further 3 months, which will help households stay afloat and one also hopes that part of that money can continue to go towards supporting local businesses.
- There is a big push to buy local – with a focus on women owned, small businesses and township-based businesses – which in turn should help create jobs in certain priority sectors.
- The simplification of visa processes and expansion of the list of countries permitted for leisure travel to SA will be good news for the hard-hit tourism industry.
- Measures are being taken to reduce the cost of data for consumers and businesses – which as we know is a huge factor today given the heightened role that technology plays in how we learn, connect and do business.
In summary, it’s fair to say: The reconstruction and recovery plan will depend on deliberate and swift implementation and execution. If successful, it will be of great help to the country’s almost 3.5 million SMEs.
Andiswa Bata: FNB Business Regional Head – Gauteng South West