South Africa’s economy shrank by 3.2% in the first quarter of 2019, the most significant decline seen since the global financial crisis 10 years ago.
The decline of gross domestic product (GDP) for the first quarter of 2019 exceeded expectations by economists who expected the economy to decline by 1.6%.
How will the government respond to the challenge that the decline poses and what role will small business play in curbing the decline?
Bongani Bingwa speaks to newly-appointed Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni.
She says at a time when the economy is in hardship, her department has a few key issues it wants to tackle.
Access to markets, access to finance and small business support and knowing what the government is doing with small business.— Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, Minister - Small Business Development
She says South Africans are doing a lot of work, like manufacturing products. However, they do not have access to the market.
The market is not opened to those who are in retail, and when the market is opened, it is not meaningful.— Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, Minister - Small Business Development
She believes that big companies can do something to assist small businesses.
She adds that the government has many programmes designed to fund small businesses, however, that access to finance is difficult.
Let me give an example in my department. You get a small business that goes to the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) to get assistance to do a business plan so that they can apply for funding at Small Enterprise Finance Agency (Sefa). Seda does the business plan, and Sefa rejects the business plan.— Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, Minister - Small Business Development
Ntshavheni adds that these two entities need to be streamlined and work together to help small businesses.
The minister says society also needs to nurture entrepreneurs in communities.
Listen below to the full interview: