Call centre helps small businesses

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pretoria - The Public Sector SMME Payment Assistance Hotline, set up by government to fast-track payment for small businesses, had answered more than 25 000 calls and facilitated payments in excess of R280 million by February this year.

The Hotline was established by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies in September 2009 to ensure that late payments to small business were kept to a minimum and SMME's liquidity was not negatively affected.

Davies told Parliament last week that National Treasury had issued practice notes to all national and provincial departments, including the State-Owned Enterprises, (SOEs) on the requirement of 30 days payment to SMMEs in accordance with Treasury regulations with a view to address cash flow challenges faced by small enterprises.

Since its formation, the Hotline has taken up 7 109 late payment queries with public sector institutions on behalf of SMMEs and, of these, 5 155 have been successfully resolved.

In the two-and-a-half years the Hotline had been operational it had identified common challenges, faced by both SMMEs and public sector institutions, which lead to late payments.