Unpacking economic recovery support interventions

The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) has unpacked the R3.75 billion Economic Rebuilding Package for the restoration of businesses adversely affected by the violent looting and unrest that took place in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng recently.

“Government has set aside funds to ensure that businesses are able to rebuild as quick as possible… It will be distributed through the department, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the National Empowerment Fund (NEF),” the department’s Deputy Director-General (DDG) Susan Mangole said on Friday.

Addressing a webinar on the economic recovery support interventions, Mangole said the Economic Rebuilding Package is part of the broader R38 billion relief package that was announced by the Minister of Finance.

The funding package to support business recovery efforts for the dtic amounts to R2 billion.

“The IDC has tailored a comprehensive package that includes funding for business and communities affected by the unrest. The considered response comprises a total recovery package totalling more than R1.5 billion,” Mangole said.

About R1.4 billion has been set aside for the Post Unrest Business Fund to assist all businesses (existing and new clients) that operate in sectors the IDC funds.

The funding will be available at concessionary rates to ensure significant development impact.

A grant allocation for R100 million is to provide technical and financial assistance to small businesses in townships, rural areas and small towns that have been affected by the unrest and associated supply chain disruptions.

Corporate Social Investment (CSI) initiatives have been allocated R10 million to support food security and recovery efforts in affected communities.

“This funding will cater for school infrastructure rebuilding, support for care facilities and clinic. The IDC will focus mainly on rural, outlying and less developed areas that now face increased vulnerability. The IDC will be working with its established NGO partners to ensure reach and impact

“In addition, the IDC will be administering the (dtic’s) R400 million Manufacturing Competiveness Enhancement Programme (MCEP) Economic Stabilisation Fund to support manufacturing companies affected by the unrest and offer concessionary funding to affected companies through interest free loans,” Mangole said.

The National Empowerment Fund (NEF) in partnership with the dtic has established the Economic Stabilisation and Rebuilding Fund to support businesses that were adversely affected by the unrest.

“Support will be provided in all sectors of the economy with the focus on manufacturing, retail and services businesses. The NEF will support any business that has been adversely affected in all sectors of the economy for an amount of R250 million,” she said.

In addition, the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has established a Temporary Financial Relief Scheme aimed at providing financial relief to vulnerable workers.

“It is targeted at workers not paid (partial or in full) remuneration owing to the closure of a workplace as a result of the unrest in KZN and Gauteng. Workers qualifying under this relief scheme will receive a monthly flat rate of R3 500,” UIF Director for Communication and Marketing Makhosonke Buthelezi said.

The benefit is intended to be paid from 9 July until 15 December.

“To avoid any in-person employee applications for the temporary financial relief under the scheme, an employer who has had to close its business as a result of the unrest must apply for temporary financial relief under the scheme for and on behalf of its affected workers in accordance with these regulations,” Buthelezi said.

Applications can be submitted online at www.uifecc.labour.gov.za. – SAnews.gov.za

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