TO: ALL MEDIA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: 24 MAY 2020
EASTERN CAPE LIQUOR BOARD ENCOURAGES LIQUOR TRADERS ASSOSCIATION TO ACCESS COVID -19 RELIEF FUNDS AVAILED BY GOVERNMENT.
Eastern Cape Liquor Board has learnt that Liquor Traders across the province are – like all businesses – adversely impacted by the Covid 19 Lockdown and their businesses have come to stagnation. Eastern Cape Liquor Board is concerned and equally worried about the state of liquor businesses, and how they have been affected by the Covid 19 situation. Regrettably, the Board does not have jurisdiction over the provision of funding to liquor traders as its mandate is purely to regulate liquor industry in the Province. However, under these difficult circumstance, the Eastern Cape Liquor Board has seen it necessary to intervene and assist liquor traders by simply making information available for the benefit of all registered Liquor Traders to ensure their businesses benefit from the funds that have been made available by the South African Government during and post Covid 19 pandemic.
Following the announcement of the business relief funds set up by government to assist SMMEs impacted negatively by the COVID 19 pandemic, the Eastern Cape Liquor Board (ECLB) has taken an initiative to consult a wide range of platforms and government institutions to find out more about how liquor traders can access the relief funds. The main purpose of this engagement was to seek ways and means of facilitating access by the SMME Liquor Traders to these funds.
This abovementioned relief package is categorised into the following:
• The SMME Relief Fund – a Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) initiative to borrow money to affected small and medium business irrespective of sector. The most important element to note are that the fund effectively excludes the informal sector; as well as that it is NOT A GRANT, it is debt at a reduced interest rate
• The Salary Bill Relief Fund – the Department of Employment and Labour fund meant to help with the payment of salaries for staff whilst they are not working during lockdown. This is a Department of Employment and Labour initiative available through the CIPC bizportal. Only companies registered for UIF qualify for consideration in this fund.
• The Debt Relief Fund – a banking sector relief initiative that is offered by various banking institution inter alia for working capital, stock, bridging finance, order finance and equipment finance, based on the needs of the business. Naturally each bank will have its own terms and conditions of the offering. SMMEs can enquire from their own banking institution with regards to further information on this offering.
• The Informal Sector Fund – a Department of Small Business Development fund targeting spaza shop owners. The gap with regards to relief that talks to the informal sector has been identified – the Department of Small Business Development has promised to look into the matter.
However, it must be clearly stated that liquor traders must also quality according to the criteria set by the Relief Fund, which include tax compliance. In realising the importance of educating liquor traders about complying with tax, over the past 5 years Eastern Cape Liquor Board has been facilitating education workshops for Liquor Traders on the business registration and tax registration. A number of Liquor Traders attended and participated in those workshops which were run in partnership with the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) and South African Revenue Service (SARS) respectively. The main reason for conducting such workshops was to enable Liquor Traders to access support from government. Therefore the onus was on the Liquor Traders to register their businesses accordingly.
It has been noted that some of the funds have a requirement for registration with the National Small Business Database and Department of Labour (in the case of the Unemployment Insurance Fund). Subsequent to Eastern Cape Liquor Board engagement with various stakeholders/institutions regarding relief fund for liquor traders, the following principles will apply to liquor traders who wish to access the relief fund:
• Liquor traders must take responsibility for lodging an application.
• The offices of the Liquor Traders associations (LTAs) must nominate a person to assist its membership with the completion of the relevant application forms which are available in the links relevant to the fund concerned.
• SEDA undertakes to guide the nominated persons by each LTA on how to populate the forms refered to above.
• ECLB undertakes to provide a reference for each applicant – to validate the authenticity of the applicant being a registered liquor trader in the Eastern Cape, including the name and address of the business for which the funds are applied.
• Prospective applicants be encouraged to approach their offices of their association for assistance, should they need guidance on how to complete the information required for each relevant application.
• SEDA will provide the LTAs, through ECLB, the contact details of its regional offices, including the relevant names of the persons their nominees can contact guidance. Liquor Traders’ Associations in the Province have been made aware of these arrangements.
Below are the important links for accessing the relevant funds:
SMME Relief Fund – www.smmesa.gov.za; www.seda.org.za or www.sefa.org.za
Salary Bill Relief Fund – https://uifecc.labour.gov.za/covid19/
CIPC BizPortal – www.bizportal.gov.za
National Small Business Database – www.smmesa.gov.za
NB: Please note that it is a requirement that an applicant registers his/ her business on the National Small Business Database before lodging any application for these funds.
For more information contact Mgwebi Msiya @060 5016418/ 043 700 0900 /Mgwebi.firstname.lastname@example.org