A proposed law aimed at protecting small businesses and ensuring they are paid on time has been submitted to Parliament for consideration. The Small Enterprises Ombud Service Bill aims to assist small, medium and micro enterprises that struggle to get payments on time and are entangled in various contractual difficulties. The bill submitted by the DA proposes to establish a small business ombudsman to provide recourse to the sector’s players. Nonpayment by the public and private sector alike is a huge problem for small businesses, many of which are forced to close down as a result of cash-flow difficulties. This problem has been acknowledged by the government and was serious enough to get a mention in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s maiden state of the nation address in February. "It is clear that the failure of some government departments to pay suppliers within 30 days has a devastating impact on small and medium-sized businesses," the president said. "The culture of late payment has ...

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