CAPE TOWN – The Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development has expressed concern over the number of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) that remain unfunded by the department through their Covid-19 debt-relief programme.
The Department appeared before the committees today to brief them on, among other things, progress made in the implementation of COVID – 19 intervention measure for SMMEs and cooperatives in reference to business registrations on www.smmesa.gov.za, Business Growth and Resilience Facility; Debt relief Fund and the Sefa-Debt Restructuring Facility.
The committees heard that the department received 35 865 applications from the SMMEs who applied for the debt-relief, and only 14 451 were found to be complete and the incomplete ones were referred to SEDA for assistance. Those SMMEs that acquired loans from SEFA also qualify for a repayment holiday.
The department has disbursed R530 million debt-relief funds by 28 May 2020 to only 1 501 SMMEs. It is against this backdrop that the committees raised a serious concern with the department. A total of 13 000 SMMEs whose applications were found to be complete remain unfunded.
The committees impressed upon the department to double its efforts in ensuring that funding to the remaining applicants is accelerated. Furthermore, the committees requested a breakdown per sector with regarding the funded SMMEs, as well as the amount spent thereof.
The committees were also briefed on the Spaza Shop Support programme in which R7 000 voucher is provided to Spaza shop owners to replenish stock. The committees heard that half of the amount is a grant and the other half is payable as interest-free loan.
The department has received 2 276 applications and only 702 of those are approved. This was another matter of concern to the committees. The committees held a view that regular joint meetings should be held more often to get the status update from the department with regards to relief measures provided to the SMMes.