Small business organisations are calling on government and big corporations to take emerging enterprises seriously if they want to grow the economy.

Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni has revealed that government departments owe service providers over R600 million and are 30 days or more behind in their payments.

But Fin24 reported that the latest figures from the ministry show that a total of over 70,000 invoices to the value of R4.3 billion were unpaid.

Government is once again being warned that it’s slowly but surely killing small businesses with its failure to pay the enterprises on time.

The Small Business Institute’s John Dludlu says this problem has been going on for a long time.

“This campaign has been going on for years and it dates back to former presidents Mbeki and Zuma.”
But he says government is not the only offender now.

“We wrote to the top 100 on the JSE, asking them for the payment terms for small businesses. Only a small amount could reveal their terms. In other jurisdictions this would be considered criminal.”

The Small Business Department has revealed the worst paying departments are water and sanitation, agriculture, and the police.