Sage has welcomed the attention that President Cyril Ramaphosa gave to growing the country’s Small & Medium Business sector in his State of the Nation Address on February 7 2019.
Pieter Bensch, Sage Africa and Middle East Executive Vice-President, says he was pleased to hear the President say that his administration will focus on making it easier to do business in South Africa.
“The fact that President Ramaphosa has set a target of ensuring that South Africa moves up from position 82 on The World Bank’s annual Doing Business Report to within the top 50 indicates that he has a vision for businesses in South Africa,” says Bensch.
“The President rightly identified a high level of economic concentration as a major economic challenge for South Africa. Reducing the red-tape small businesses face and improving the ease of doing business is one of the best ways we can promote a more inclusive, entrepreneurial and diverse economy.”
Bensch says that the President recognises the role that Small & Medium Businesses have to play in the economy and launched some positive initiatives to help them grow. “It was interesting to hear President Ramaphosa’s pledge to expand government’s small business incubation programme.
“One of the most critical challenges small businesses face is training and skills development support, which is where incubators have a valuable role to play. The challenge is to scale up such initiatives in partnerships with big business to reach as many start-ups and small businesses as possible,” says Bensch.
President Ramaphosa’s focus on growing South African exports as part of a strategy to revive the economy is also good news, he adds. “We have so much to offer the world as an exporter, whether we look at manufactured goods, agriculture or high-tech business process outsourcing,” says Bensch.
“The President’s view that we need to improve the competitiveness and sophistication of our exports while increasing local demand through government procurement makes sense. We look forward to seeing the practical details of these policies.”
Bensch says that many small business owners will be delighted to hear that the Employment Tax Incentive will be extended for another ten years. “This is a great initiative that helps to create work for the youth, while rewarding entrepreneurs for being job creators,” he adds.
“This was one of the most business-friendly presidential addresses we have heard in a long while, with a vision for how government and the private sector can join hands in growing the economy, creating jobs and promoting social cohesion. We look forward to hearing more concrete details of implementation in the Finance Minister’s Budget Speech later this month,” concludes Bensch.