Mbabane: Good news for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME)
Government, through the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade has set up an MSME Revolving Fund to the value of E45million. The fund is targeted at assisting small and medium businesses that have been adversely affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This was announced by the Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini in a press conference, while giving the national COVID-19 update at the cabinet offices on Monday.
Dlamini said the modalities and details on the Fund will be announced by the Ministry of Commerce on due course
The fund come at a time after government is paying laid off employees from a 25 million relief fund that was set up during the course of lockdown where businesses affected by COVID-19 laid off its employees.
The premier noted that as government continue to gradually open the economy they will strengthen monitoring mechanisms to ensure that the business environment is safe for both workers and clients.
Dlamini revealed that over 1 300 businesses have been inspected by the Ministry of Commerce with the support of Regional Administrators, Police and the National Disaster Management Agency for compliance to COVID-19 regulations.
While a majority of businesses were seen complying adequately with the COVID-19 health guidelines, Dalmini said it was very disappointing to note that some businesses deliberately flout the rules. “Inspections have revealed that some businesses, particularly in rural areas, fail to provide proper sanitation stations, do not enforce the wearing of face masks, do not have social distance markings and sell expired goods”.
“Other businesses are still inflating prices for commodity goods such as maize meal, rice and sugar, amongst others”.
Laid Off workers Relief Fund
Dlamini said the process of paying workers who were temporarily laid off without pay from the E25million Relief Fund is proceeding successfully. Currently compensatory relief claims have been paid to 8238 employees who were laid off without pay. The amount paid out so far is E3, 358, 800.
He said it was encouraging to note that with the gradual relaxation of the partial lockdown, the number of employers applying to temporarily lay off their employees is decreasing, signalling that business is slowly getting back to normal.
As business gets back to normal the premier said workers and employers should remain vigilant in observing all health precautions to prevent a spread of new COVID 19 infections.
He encouraged employers who have still not claimed for their laid off workers are urged to approach the Ministry of Labour and Social Security for the necessary assistance so that every eligible employee can benefit from this Fund.