Banking association and Khula in deal to help small business

SMALL-scale enterprises could now enjoy better access to financial services and low financing costs following the signing of a co-operation agreement between state-owned developmental funding agency Khula Enterprise Finance and the Banking Association of SA (Basa).

Small businesses in the country are regarded as the main contributors to job creation, something that SA — with an unemployment rate of 25% by some measures — is working hard to encourage.

Khula and Basa said they would endeavour to facilitate the formation of a credit bureau for small and medium enterprises, the first of its kind in Africa, and would provide access to an information portal for small businesses.

They would also conduct research, facilitate skills transfer, assist in the development of a national mentorship programme and promote financial literacy.

In April, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel told Parliament Khula was to become a wholly owned subsidiary of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) with a budget of R2,8bn this year. It would incorporate the South African Micro Finance Apex Fund as well as the IDC’s small business loan book.

Khula is SA’s main small business financing vehicle but has been hampered by underfunding and, until recently, its restriction to wholesale financing. Its agreement with Basa comes at a time when banks are often seen as doing too little to finance small business development.

Basa MD Cas Coovadia, however, said statistics showed that the sector provided 95% of funding for small businesses. The proposed credit bureau could change how the banks look at risk in the market, he said.

“The (small business) credit bureau initiative will assist banks to access reliable information on the day-to-day transactions of the business and not just the individual.”

The role and mandate of the publicly funded Khula should be to develop markets, allowing the private sector to come in with funding, Mr Coovadia said.

He said there was a need to develop more risk-appropriate evaluation models and products tailored to small business development.

“Here we are talking about a very focused, on-the-ground, issues-based collaboration. The first thing we need to do is to sit down and have an assessment of what we have been doing independently and agree on what we see as each other’s role,” Mr Coovadia said.

via BusinessDay – Banking association, Khula in deal to help small businesses

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Deregulate Petrol – increase of 17c next week

The price of petrol will increase by 17c next Wednesday, on the back of higher the international petrol, diesel and illuminating paraffin prices, the Department of Energy said today.

“The average rand/dollar exchange rate strengthened when compared to the previous period. The average rand/dollar exchange rate for the period 1 July 2011 to 28 July 2011 was R6,8134 compared to R6,8353 during the previous period,” the Department of Energy said on Friday.

Diesel containing 0.05% sulphur will increase by 15c, along with diesel containing 0.005% sulphur.

Illuminating paraffin’s wholesale price will increase by 10c while the Single Maximum National Retail Price (SMNRP) will increase by 13c.

The price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPGAS) will increase by 38c per kilogram.

via BusinessDay – Petrol to increase by 17c next week

National Treasury

The National Treasury is responsible for managing South Africa’s national government finances. Supporting efficient and sustainable public financial management is fundamental to the promotion of economic development, good governance, social progress and a rising standard of living for all South Africans. The Constitution of the Republic (Chapter 13) mandates the National Treasury to ensure transparency, accountability and sound financial controls in the management of public finances.

The National Treasury’s legislative mandate is also described in the Public Finance Management Act (Chapter 2). The National Treasury is mandated to promote government’s fiscal policy framework; to coordinate macroeconomic policy and intergovernmental financial relations; to manage the budget preparation process; to facilitate the Division of Revenue Act, which provides for an equitable distribution of nationally raised revenue between national, provincial and local government; and to monitor the implementation of provincial budgets.

As mandated by the executive and Parliament, the National Treasury will continue to support the optimal allocation and utilisation of financial resources in all spheres of government to reduce poverty and vulnerability among South Africa’s most marginalised.

Over the next 10 years National Treasury priorities include increasing investment in infrastructure and industrial capital; improving education and skills development to raise productivity; improving the regulation of markets and public entities; and fighting poverty and inequality through efficient public service delivery, expanded employment levels, income support and empowerment.

via National Treasury

SITA

SITA was established in 1999 to consolidate and coordinate the State’s information technology resources in order to achieve cost savings through scale, increase delivery capabilities and enhance interoperability. SITA is committed to leveraging Information Technology (IT) as a strategic resource for government, managing the IT procurement and delivery process to ensure that the Government gets value for money, and using IT to support the delivery of e-Government services to all citizens. In short, SITA is the IT business for the largest employer and consumer of IT products and services in South Africa – the Government.

Furthermore, the Act separates SITA’s services into mandatory services (i.e. SITA must provide), and non-mandatory services (i.e. SITA may provide).

SITA remains committed in all its engagements to adhere to the Government’s “IT House of Values”, aiming to achieve reduced costs, increased productivity and increased service to our citizens.

SITA (Pty) Ltd

South African Post Office – SAPO

The South African Post Office Group currently consist of a number of divisions and subsidiaries operating in the fields of mail, financial services, logistics, property, electronic commerce and retail services. Traditional collection, sorting and delivery of letters and parcels constitute the primary business activity of the group, responsible for nearly 65% of the groups revenue in 2010/12. In the 2010/11 financial year nearly 1,5 billion mail pieces were processed. In order to process and distribute this volume of mail items the group operates 6 large mail centers and more than 40 depots across the republic. The group has, however, suffered a decline in traditional mail volumes over the last 3 years. This decline is in line with similar declines experienced by the majority of postal operators across the world as traditional mail as a communication medium is substituted by electronic alternatives such as email and more recently cell phones.

The second largest activity of the group is financial services which it offers through its savings banks that operates under the name Postbank. The Postbank itself was formed in 1910 and is the largest savings bank in the country. More than 6 million customers have accounts with Postbank making it one of the largest banks in South Africa as measured by customer number. The Postbank is a deposit taking institution only, and thus does not offer credit products, only savings and investment products.

via South African Post Office – Wikipedia

SABS

The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) is a statutory body that was established in terms of the Standards Act, 1945 (Act No. 24 of 1945) and continues to operate in terms of the latest edition of the Standards Act, 2008 (Act No. 29 of 2008) as the national institution for the promotion and maintenance of standardisation and quality in connection with commodities and the rendering of services.

As the national standardisation authority, the SABS is responsible for maintaining South Africa’s database of more than 6,500 national standards, as well as developing new standards and revising, amending or withdrawing existing standards as required.

Internationally, SABS experts represent South Africa’s interests in the development of international standards, through their engagement with bodies such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). South Africa has a long and proud history of involvement with these bodies and was a founder member of ISO. On a regional level, the SABS currently holds the Secretariat for SADCSTAN, the standardisation body for the Southern African Development Community of 14 nations.

SABS Commercial (Pty) Ltd, a self-financing division within the SABS, offers certification, testing, consignment inspection and other services, mostly to industry. Apart from offering systems certification and product testing against the requirements of South African National Standards (SANS), SABS Commercial also operates its proprietary product certification scheme – the SABS Mark of Approval – a universally recognised icon in South Africa, assuring buyers that products are safe, fit for purpose and offer redress.

via South African Bureau of Standards – Wikipedia

SABC

Official SABC website

A throwback to the Apartheid days, many opposition politicians believe the SABC to be the mouthpiece of the ANC government or “SANC”, just as it was that of the National Party. Despite a change in government, this public perception was reinforced when, in August 2005, the SABC came under heavy fire from non-affiliated media and the public for failing to broadcast a scene whereby Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka was booed offstage by members of the ANC Youth League, who were showing support for the newly-axed ex-Deputy President, Jacob Zuma.

Rival broadcaster eTV publicly accused SABC of ‘biased reporting’ by failing to show the video footage of the humiliated Deputy President, but Snuki Zikalala, Head of News and ex-ANC spokesperson retorted by stating that their cameraman was not present at the meeting, a claim later established to be false when eTV footage was released which showed an SABC cameraman filming the incident.

SABC’s government connections also came under scrutiny when, in April 2005, Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe was interviewed live by Zikalala, who is a former ANC political commissar. The interview held was deemed by the public eye to have side-stepped ‘critical issues’ and controversial questions regarding Mugabe’s radical land-reform policies and human rights violations.

In May 2006, the SABC was accused of self censorship, when it decided not to air a documentary on South African President Thabo Mbeki, and in early June requested that the producers (from Daylight Films) not speak about it. This has been widely criticised by independent media groups. In response, the International Freedom of Expression Exchange issued an alert concerning the SABC’s apparent trend toward self-censorship.

In June 2006 the International Federation of Journalists denounced the cancelling of the Thabo Mbeki documentary, citing “self censorship” and “politically influenced managers”.

Also in June 2006, SAfm host John Perlman disclosed on air that the SABC had created a blacklist of commentators. A commission of inquiry was created by SABC CEO Dali Mpofu into the allegations that individuals were blacklisted at the behest of Zikalala.[11][12]

Critics, including the influential newspaper, Mail and Guardian (Vol 24, No 35) have accused the broadcaster of cultural myopia by failing to recognize the diverse cultural mix of South Africa and excessive favoring of certain ethnic groups in their choice of entertainment offered particularly by the TV services.

via South African Broadcasting Corporation – Wikipedia