Grocery Inquiry To Address Township SMEs Challenges

Updated on 16 March 2016

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Today's top entrepreneurship and business stories (16 March)

Economic Development Minister, Ebrahim Patel on Tuesday said the grocery retail sector inquiry launched last year by the Competition Commission was very significant and could address issues of food prices and market access, this is according to a BDLive report.

The report outlines that the inquiry will look at the following: “the effect of national supermarket chains on small and independent retailers in townships, rural areas and the informal economy; the effect of exclusive lease agreements between shopping mall owners and national supermarket chains that often keep smaller retailers out; and the dynamics of competition between local small retailers and foreign-owned small retailers in townships.”

According to Patel, the inquiry was launched to find ways to “improve dynamic competition access for small businesses in the retail sector and combat restrictive practices.”

Coffee prices to remain stable

Despite fears that local coffee prices will drastically increase due to a shortage of beans from Brazil, coupled with the entrance of Starbucks into the local market, prices will remain stable and steadily increase at realistic levels, says FNB in a press release.

Dawie Maree, head of information and Marketing at FNB Business, agriculture says South Africa has not yet experienced supply challenges as we import most of our coffee beans from Eastern African countries which continue to increase yields and produce quality crops.

Maree cautions that lower global prices will not necessarily translate to coffee prices dropping in the country since several factors affect the prices that retailers currently charge.

South Africa reassures investors​

South Africa is a steady, well-functioning economy – that is the message the National Treasury conveyed to international investors during a roadshow to London, Boston and New York last week.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan headed the group of business leaders, three labour federations and senior officials from the National Treasury and the South African Reserve Bank to engage with international investors after the tabling of the 2016 Budget.

“Our main message to the investors was that as a resilient nation, South Africa has the potential to overcome its immediate challenges,” the Treasury said. “What is required is for (the) government, labour and business to work together on concrete steps and actions that will be taken to lift economic growth.”

“The world economic outlook is uncertain and the country must be seen to be united and focused on tackling its socio-economic challenges.”

The next few months would be critical, the Treasury said, as it mapped a path for higher economic growth, to preserve the investment grade rating, and address poverty, unemployment and inequality.

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