As South Africa and the international community continue to intensify efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19, FNB says it is committed to help SMEs and individual customers whose financial position is adversely impacted by the coronavirus.
“The bank continues to work with the Banking Association of South Africa (BASA), in engaging with the SARB and Government on a variety of solutions aimed at supporting both consumers and businesses through these difficult times. We will make further announcements on the nature of this support in the days ahead,” it said in a statement on Monday (23 March).
“FNB believes that SMEs and an economically viable consumer market are vital to the country’s economic growth prospects.
“It is the collective responsibility of both the government and the private sector to continue working together to identify immediate and long-term initiatives that will provide relief.”
FNB said it remains open for business to assist SMEs that qualify for credit to stabilise their cash flow and consumers who may want to cover unexpected expenses.
“We commend efforts by National Government to contain the spread of COVID-19 and interventions such as the development of a Debt Relief Fund by the Department of Small Business Development.
“FNB remains committed to helping consumers and businesses on their financial journey,” it said.
The Department of Small Business Development is also establishing a debt relief fund to help mitigate the impact of the economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus on small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs).
Small business minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said that the fund is aimed at providing relief on existing debts and repayments.
“For SMMEs to be eligible for assistance under the debt relief fund, the applicant must demonstrate the direct link of the impact or the potential impact of Covid-19 on business operations,” Ntshavheni said.
“This facility will also assist entities to acquire raw material, pay labour and operational costs. All these interventions will be structured to match the patterns of the SMMEs cash flows, as well as the extent of the impact suffered.”
- To strengthen monitoring and avoid abuse, businesses requiring assistance will be required to enrol on the SMME South Africa platform here.
- This platform will go live on Tuesday, 24 March 2020.
In future, the database will also be used to apply for both financial and non-financial support, access information about business opportunities, and access market opportunities, Ntshavheni said.
“As the nation grapples with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the department will be guided by the National Command Council in determining the sectors that are deemed severely impacted in order to qualify for the debt relief fund.”