The long-awaited Public Procurement Bill will be submitted to the Cabinet in March, paving the way for black-, youth-and women-owned businesses to get larger stakes in state procurement, which runs into billions of rand. This initiative was announced by Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba during his budget speech on Wednesday. In 2015-16, the government’s cumulative procurement budget was projected at R600bn, and it was to be divided among more than 1,000 procurement entities — from small municipalities and metros to national departments and state-owned companies. Taking a leaf out of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s maiden state of the nation address on Friday night, Gigaba said in delivering his maiden budget that the government would place emphasis on youth-owned enterprises, especially those owned by black people and women. “Public procurement ... is a critical lever to change the production and ownership of the economy to empower black people, women and the youth,” said the finance minis...

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