FS businesses urged to make use of relief funds

The Free State Department of Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs is appealing to businesses, both in the formal and informal sector, to apply for relief funds made available to assist business affected by Covid-19.

Destea spokesperson, Kgotso Tau, tells OFM News their records indicate that lots of businesses in the province have not submitted applications to receive the help they need.

OFM News reports that he says they have put together several Economic Recovery Incentives to assist the different industries and he appeals to business owners to come forward in efforts to save jobs and avoid retrenchments. Tau’s clearing call comes amidst growing concerns over the South African economy and job losses following the release of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey, indicating the number of unemployed South Africans now stands at 30.1%.

The survey released by Statistician-General, Risenga Maluleke, on Tuesday indicates that young people and women are still at the periphery and worst affected.

He also said the black African and coloured population groups remain vulnerable in the labour market, irrespective of gender.

While the latest unemployment data shows the country is worse off than at the end of 2019, things are expected to get much worse as the labour force data only represent the first quarter of the year, the period before the nationwide coronavirus lockdown came into effect.

The lockdown, which shut down large parts of the economy for five weeks and continues to keep some sectors locked, is expected to have a negative impact on the economy and employment in the country.

Economists, the Reserve Bank and National Treasury have all warned of the negative impact of the Coronavirus, predicting it will lead to the contraction of the economy and job losses.