State to expand support for small businesses across the board

Companies do not need to be majority black-owned to qualify for support, says minister of small business development Khumbudzo Ntshavheni

As the country prepares to shut down for three weeks, the government is implementing a range of measures from tax deferrals to targeted funding for distressed businesses, in the hope that SA firms can weather the onslaught of the coronavirus.

The details outlined by ministers on Tuesday follow President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of a nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of the disease and prevent overwhelming the country’s health system.

The support measures come at a time when SA’s growth was already dismal and its fiscal position acutely fragile, with little space to spend its way out of the recession that economists now believe is all but certain.

The cost of the necessary support efforts is yet to be tallied but the economic slowdown and the hit to tax revenues that would ensue is expected to have profound consequences for SA’s budget, economists said.