South Africans universally like the idea of helping their country’s small businesses thrive and create local jobs, but they also want their goods cheaper.
Imported goods generally tend to cost lest, but buying locally produced products saves jobs, contributes to the strengthening of the economy and ensures that marginalised SMMEs are included in the mainstream economy.
According to Proudly South African CEO Eustace Mashimbye, who was speaking at the Buy Local Summit, the participation of small businesses would provide the jobs the country desperately needed.
“We already know that the economy was already under pressure before COVID-19, and a lot of jobs were lost before and during COVID-19. Many more people remain unemployed, so by buying local ensures that we buy from small businesses that are brave enough to go out there and create jobs and the products that we consume on a daily basis,” he said.
“When companies continue to benefit from buying local, you will see an improvement in households especially in a country like ours where the concept of black tax sees one salary feeding many people, something that buying local aims to achieve.”
Mashimbye said SMMEs could increase the GDP.
“Buying local contributes to the development of the economy especially in the context of small businesses. Thriving economies from developed nations were built on the backs of strong SMMEs,” he said.
“Small businesses represent more than 90% of enterprises in all economies, yet in our country the contribution of SMMEs to the GDP is very low; hence there is a target set by government to increase SMME GDP contribution to 90%.”
“To increase the GDP we also need to increase exports and decrease exports, be sure every time you bring in products you are exporting jobs,” he continued.
Mashimbye also said that buying local improved the standard of living for all South Africans.
“Buying local helps in that you bring in those who were not necessarily part of the mainstream economy. It also promises an improved standard of living for those that run businesses, and also for those who are employed in these businesses.”
It also contributed to skills development, because often unskilled workers were absorbed into jobs where they were trained.
Mashimbye reminded the private sector it had an essential role to play in ensuring that small businesses were supported adequately.
“We have also issued a call to the private sector and asked them to review procurement practices, to make procurement commitments, to look at the entire supply chain and to give preference in all instances to locally-made products,” he said.