Important relief measures for your business and employees during Covid-19
There are several relief measures that have been introduced to help us all during this challenging period. We are hoping these are followed by even more relief measures in the President’s address this evening and we will then update you further:
1. Government is offering access to special funds called the SMME Support Intervention consisting of a Debt Relief Fund and Business Growth and Resilience Facility. The Debt Relief Fund is aimed at providing relief on existing debts and repayments but to be eligible, the small business owner must be able to demonstrate a direct link of the impact or potential impact of Covid-19 on the business operations. This facility will also assist entities to acquire raw materials, pay labour and other operational costs. And it will match the patterns of the SMME’s cash flows and the total of the impact suffered by the business.
This will be available to small business owners on the following basis:
- Registering your business on www.smmesa.gov.za from 24th March and
- Maintaining an accurate record of costs associated with Covid-19 for the business. We suggest:
Adding a separate COVID-19 expense line item in your Income Statement. There will be quantifiable expenses that you can directly allocate to that line item including special softwares, computer support, hardware, debt collection services, cleaning services etc. And add a cost for indirect expenses including planning time, crisis management team meetings, contingency plans etc.
Creating a spreadsheet that records and measures all the resources including time and money that are being spent in your business to manage the current situation. Make sure you retain the details and evidence to support these entries to ensure prompt reconciliation and presentation for government grants, reliefs and bank loans.
2. Standard Bank has led the way by giving all its business clients with a turnover of less than R20m per year a debt repayment holiday of 3 months.
- The business will not have to pay debt instalments from 1 April to 30 June, but interest and fees will still accrue during this time. After the 90-day period, a new repayment will become due.
- Businesses are not required to apply for the holiday – it will be applied automatically if you are not behind on payments and “in good standing” with the bank. You need to contact the bank to opt out.
- Students will also get an automatic 3-month repayment holiday and no interest or fees will accrue during this time
3. Nedbank to help clients with debt holidays and more credit
- Nedbank has said that it will offer individual solutions to clients who are struggling with their cashflow due to Covid-19
- This will include debt repayment holidays, extending loan periods or more credit to manage short-terms cashflow shortfalls