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Ramaphosa calls for decisive action on financial sector collusion
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for decisive action against collusion to allow small and medium enterprises (SMME) equal access to opportunities.
Ramaphosa was speaking on Tuesday at the opening of the Global Entrepreneurship Congress held in Sandton. This is the first time that the international event for entrepreneurs is being held on the African continent.
“They [small businesses] will prosper if we eliminate barriers to entry by reducing the cost of data, transport and the cost of financial services … I want bankers to listen very carefully,” he said. “They will be sustainable if society is united in combating uncompetitive business behaviour, collusion and price fixing by monopolistic cartels,” Ramaphosa said.
The deputy president also called for tax regimes, which he believed stifle small business, to be reformed. This year the government will enforce new procurement regulations that will require all government tenders with a value greater than R30-million to be 30% subcontracted to small black-owned businesses. Ramaphosa encouraged other governments to develop procurement policies that would set aside funds to buy from SMMEs.
Policy makers including Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba, Small Business Development minister Lindiwe Zulu and Gauteng premier David Makhura are expected to interact with entrepreneurs and business at the 4-day congress. Mashaba highlighted his plans to support small businesses in Johannesburg by revitalising old inner-city buildings into commercial spaces for small businesses.
Meanwhile Zulu, whose department is being looked at to create 90% of the 11-million new jobs earmarked for 2030, has lamented the minimal participation of big business in driving the growth of the small business sector. But Ramaphosa said he was pleased that big business was starting to come on board and work with governments in supporting SMMEs.
“Through the Presidential CEO initiative, in which the CEO’s of the country’s largest firms are working together with government and organised labour to promote economic growth, a fund of R1.5 billion has been established to support small and medium enterprise development,” he said.
Government expects that the congress will have significant economic benefits for the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors and generate around R45 million for Johannesburg.