Guy Harris, a former Director at Bell Equipment and head of Consulting at Deloitte, is actively involved in scaling medium-sized enterprises and had this to say to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance 1 March 2018

Summary of 28 February 2018 Budget Public Hearings:  SME/ECD/Reregulation presentation by Guy Harris

“More needs to be done” Minister
1. Ratings rerating must be achieved quickly – impacts all

2. Education – key driver for reducing inequality sustainably but needs a much stronger well funded Early Childhood Development base and has clarity of where responsibility lies

3. Free Tertiary – populous and too late. It is akin to investing in prisons instead of dealing with social ills driving crime

4. Job creation – key to increasing economic growth and reducing unemployment and, if focused on entry level upskillable jobs, will reduce poverty – The Medium Sized Sector can deliver

5. To fund above, without negatively impacting on government ratios and tempting further downgrade – use selected, targeted commercialisation and additional sin taxes for areas with high social costs such as FAS/substance abuse. Supplemented by import surcharges where locally manufactured products/ substitutes are available

6. 30 day SME payment by all tiers of government not working, not enforced, rather get Treasury to factor valid department, soe and municipal debts – problem areas quickly highlighted and addressed

7. A tax incentive for investing at angel stage if job creating

8. Large scale deregulation to make it easier to start and grow to critical mass and become high employers

9. Three tier deregulation proposal:
a. Small – 0-50 ee’s – focus on health and safety
b. Medium- 50-500 ee’s – swing balance to management but employees and their representatives have ways of taking unscrupulous and exploitative owners to task, encourage gainsharing
c. Big – >500 ee’s – current model but Bargaining Councils tasked (and tracked) with expanding their industry, ensuring job creation and enhancing competitiveness

10. Dramatically simplify tax, registration and compliance for small and medium businesses, esp high job creators

11. Make entrepreneurship visas more accessible, subject to graduated delivery of local jobs sustainably

12. In a knowledge based 4.0 economy need effective education + far more than the existing 4% of matriculants getting >50% in maths + good reading, writing, arithmetic, coding and social skills

13. Early Childhood Development is the base and needs even more support #feesmustrisetofundECD