Covid-19 economic recovery plans have been announced by the Free State Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs earlier today. These include four interventions for local businesses in the formal sector.
According to MEC Makalo Mohale, the department will actively put in place medium-term interventions to help businesses keep and create jobs.
“Today we are announcing a part of a broader recovery plan because current conditions don’t allow us to wait for a later time to detail the entire plan. They will consolidate programmes and funding that Destea is already involved in but present times have called for a more unified approach to keep the local economy afloat,” he said at the Environmental Training Centre at Naval Hill.
MEC Mohale explained that five sectors would be prioritised in the recovery plan, including infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and e-commerce. “Agriculture is a sector that has seen growth while others have declined during the pandemic, so our efforts will go into enhancing it. On the other hand, tourism has seen a knock but we have seen innovation in this sector with many establishments repurposing themselves to meet the current needs,” he said.
For businesses in the formal sector, the department offers the Covid-19 Risk Sharing Incentives Scheme among others to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on local small businesses. “The scheme will provide support of up to 40% of co-funding requirements to operational South African owned enterprises.
The fund is in partnership with the Provincial Developmental Finance Institutions with the objective of decreasing the risk of viable business proposals in the five priority sectors,” said Mohale.
A bridging finance scheme will also be administered by the Free State Development Corporation (FDC) to address cash flow needs of SMMEs. A manufacturing support scheme has also been established.