The South African government has announced its plans to halt certain imports in order to support products from small business enterprises.
The South African government plans to block certain imports to the country. The move to support the success of locally produced goods was officially confirmed by the Minister of Small Business Development Khumbudzo Ntshavheni. Ntshavheni pointed out that the international trade of specific goods needed to be regulated in order for South Africa’s small businesses to succeed.
According to Business Tech South Africa, Ntshavheni stated that they had reached out to the Department of Trade Industry (DTI) and had included working with the South African Revenue Services (SARS). South Africa’s open economy, according to the minister, has caused small business to compete with international companies for the sale and distribution of similar products. The DTI has subsequently been called to increase the privilege of local products to be between 80 and 100 percent. This would mean that goods from international companies cannot be from the same category as those produced by local businesses.
The strategy also includes SARS and customs ensuring that the stipulated regulations will be followed such that international products marked for 100% local production, do not make it inside the country. The Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise (SMMEs) industry has admittedly been battered by the COIVD-19 pandemic and the local market is desperate for a speedy recovery.
The South African Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) is responsible for issuing funding support to small and medium business enterprises. Approximately a quarter of a billion rands (about 18 million U.S dollars) has reportedly been distributed to business in the 2019 and 2020 financial years. A reported 15 million rands went to process and technology funding for those businesses in need, and 167 million rands to women-owned enterprises. An additional 68 million rands was allocated to youth-owned businesses.
The announcement falls within a precarious time when government has been criticised for the poor economic response evident in the meagre COVID-19 relief fund for citizens, and the scandal of hundreds of millions missing from the funds allocated for artists.