SMME registrations for Covid-19 help


Registration is now open for small and medium-sized businesses to ask for government help during the coronavirus disaster.

A special website for the department of small business development, at www.smmesa.gov.za, started accepting details late on Monday night.

The site asks for basic details, such as contact details and shareholder information, with the option to ask for either financial assistance, or non-financial assistance, or both.

See also: These South Africans will get a windfall of R500 a month until July as part of Covid-19 measures

Companies can specify the kind of assistance they require, but there is no indication what might be on offer.

Businesses that are involved in critical sectors, from manufacturing masks to the distribution of food, are expected to receive priority support.

The small business department last week announced plans for the website after it was "inundated" by questions from the SMME sector.

It said the registration database would also be used to alert micro, small, and medium-sized businesses about opportunities and market support measures to be implemented in future.

The department said it planned a Business Growth/Resilience Facility, with the implication that debt relief and similar measures would be available.

Those plans appear to be entirely separate from measures announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday night, including R8 billion in tax credits for lowest-paid workers over the next four months, and a partial tax holiday for some businesses.

See also: Here’s how you can make a donation to South Africa’s Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund

The small business initiative is also apparently not linked, or not yet linked, to the Solidarity Response Fund that Ramaphosa also announced. That fund has received an initial R150 million from government, and is soliciting donations from the public.

The Solidarity Response Fund will be privately managed and administered. By Tuesday morning it had not yet released details of its plans.

Small businesses can register for government assistance on the official website www.smmesa.gov.za.

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

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