SMEs are at the heart of the $26.6bn stimulus, says industry

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The R500bn ($26.6) stimulus package to keep SA’s economy going during the COVID-19 pandemic has been hailed as a brilliant idea by business because, at its core, are measures aimed at rescuing small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

“If there is no deliberate effort to rescue and support our SMEs, we are heading towards economic collapse,” Busi Mavuso, CEO, Business Leadership SA told Business Day.

Mavuso said about 70% of SMEs employ about 6-million people and that they had been “greatly impacted” by the outbreak of coronavirus that has infected 3,465 and killed 58 people in SA.

SMEs affected by the coronavirus lockdown have had to apply to the special Covid-19 relief fund administered by the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to stay afloat.

On Tuesday night, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced, among other things, the continued assistance to these enterprises through loans, grants and debt restructuring. “The value of assistance to date is over R100m ($5.2m),” said Ramaphosa, adding that an additional R2bn ($105m) will be made available to support SMEs.

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