Getting big business and government in pay their small business suppliers on time is one of the biggest challenges facing South African small businesses – and when the problem persists too long, it can ultimately shut down a small business.

This is according to Mike Anderson, founder and CEO of NSBC, who adds: “More than ever before, now is the time to ensure that all your small business suppliers are paid quickly. We are urging Big Business South Africa and government to release these all important payments now.”

Covid-19 and the economic downturn has and will continue to have a devastating impact on small businesses throughout South Africa, he says. Small businesses need to pay their workers, their rent, suppliers and other key operating expenses, and survive as a family.

“We have limited control over how long the pandemic will disrupt our nation, but we are in control how quickly we can pay our small business suppliers,” says Anderson.

He adds that, through the Prompt Payment Code, a National Small Business Chamber (NSBC) initiative, the NSBC is challenging the way small businesses are being paid.

“We are championing the importance of big business and government paying small business suppliers within 30 days or much quicker. It’s a highly recognised process where Business South Africa and government openly commit to paying small businesses on time.

The findings of the recent Covid-19 National Small Business Survey clearly indicates that late payments are at an all-time high as small businesses are waiting too long to get paid. The average amount owed to each small business is now at its highest level.

More than half of all small businesses in South Africa are burdened with late payments, with the result that many are going out of business.

“We all have a collective responsibility to do whatever we can to keep small businesses in business and their workers employed. By paying small businesses quickly, this is the most meaningful step in the right direction,” Anderson adds.