Posted: October 27, 2021
The Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ms Nomalungelo Gina has urged business operators in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal to desist from making fraudulent claims from the funds made available to assist those businesses that were genuinely affected by the July unrest.
She met the business representatives at the Howick West Community Hall today, to brief them on government’s Economic Relief Package and other incentive programmes of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) aimed at supporting businesses and their growth.
In July, government announced a R36 billion economic relief support to sectors reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and the recent public violence, where businesses were looted and damaged. The funds were spread across business support agencies.
Recently, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Mr Ebrahim Patel revealed that the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and National Empowerment Fund (NEF) had approved R1.5 billion in direct support, which could be broken down to 123 separate transactions representing 320 business sites.
Deputy Minister Gina said while government is availing all this money for relief, it’s concerning that there are also incidents of dishonesty.
“We are picking up in our processes that there are some instances of fraud, where business operators submit claims and indicate they were affected by the unrest, but when we do verification, we find there is no evidence to back that up. There are also incidents of double dipping, where a business will submit the same claim to different government agencies tasked with distributing grants. Others simply over inflate the extent of the damage in their businesses,” she said.
She appealed to business operators to assist government in ensuring that it is those businesses that qualify who receive the funds to ensure they restart their businesses because resources are not limitless. She added that government is in the process of putting systems in place and strengthening current ones to close the gaps.
Gina further emphasised that overall, strong partnerships between government and business are essential to the ensure the advancement of the country’s economy.
“Without you our economy would suffer and our communities would struggle with accessing some critical and basic services. Therefore, we value the role you play and we seek to give you as much support as we can to ensure that we succeed in moving our country forward. We also encourage you to explore business expansion opportunities, by venturing into areas such as agro-processing to ensure rapid growth not only of your businesses but local economies as well,” she said.
Bongani Lukhele – Director: Media Relations
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