The creation of a ministry of small business in South Africa would be a significant step forward in tackling the country’s unemployment figures, Christo Botes, spokesperson for the 2014 Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of Year Competition, said on Tuesday.
Botes’ commentary followed ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe’s suggestion to introduce a ministry of small business.
Mantashe made these remarks at a South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) breakfast held last week in Johannesburg.
South Africa, whose economy has entered a turbulent phase, has been battling with higher figures of joblessness for years, which reached nearly 30 percent recently. The Southern African nation of 50 million people lost its ‘Africa’s largest economy’ title to Nigeria last week.
Botes said he supported Mantashe’s idea, adding that the creation of such ministry should not come at an extra cost for tax payers, but rather in the form of a realignment of the current ministries.
He said efforts currently being made to support and grow entrepreneurship needs additional support as South Africa’s ranking in various entrepreneurial reports remain low.
There are about 2 million small businesses registered in South Africa, which employ about 40 percent of the country’s workforce. But these entities face enormous challenges such as lack of funding, tough business laws and lack of support from both government and private big business .
Botes said a small business ministry would be able to support small businesses by reducing the cost of doing business, simplifying the current business registration process, create access to finance and create appropriate incentives for South African entrepreneurs.
“With such a ministry, government will be dedicated to solving problems that directly impact on experienced entrepreneurs and small businesses,” he said in a statement.
“If managed effectively, this can greatly increase small business success and in turn drive job creation and economic growth for the country,” he added.