State has no business making SMEs’ lives harder

Ideas

State has no business making SMEs’ lives harder

The National Small Enterprise Amendment Bill is an expense government cannot begin to afford

Columnist

In December, the department of small business development released the National Small Enterprise Amendment Bill for public comment. A serious rethink is required, especially chapter 3A, which establishes a small enterprise ombudsman service and grants far-reaching powers to the minister of small business development to determine and prohibit “unfair trading practices”. 

Regrettably, instead of being a piece of legislation designed to answer the question “How can we help you?” — particularly in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown regulations, which have smacked the small segment of SA’s business sector — the proposed amendments create a new layer of bureaucracy by establishing an ombudsman with no supporting business case behind it.

Further, the bill represents an expense government cannot begin to afford. It also steps on institutional toes already available for redress, offers no regulatory impact assessment for the proposal and consolidates extensive powers with the minister and the ombudsman...

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