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In his budget address last week, finance minister Enoch Godongwana announced a new R20bn bounce-back scheme to support small businesses in distress due to Covid. An intervention that’s been in the works for the past eight months (with the help of private financial sector experts), it removes many of the design flaws that hobbled SA’s original loan guarantee scheme.

The initial R200bn scheme was the single largest plank of the government’s R500bn Covid stimulus package, announced in April 2020. The R200bn target was always unrealistic, given the size of SA’s business sector, but even so, take-up by firms was lukewarm and only about R12bn of credit was eventually disbursed...

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