Staff Reporter –
Small Business Minister Craig Foss earned the attention and interest of the business community in Manukau City last fortnight but the longevity of that status would depend on how well the government lives up to its promise.
Attending a meeting organised by National MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi at the Vodafone Events Centre on November 24, 2016, he outlined the measures taken by his government to address the problems and challenges faced by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in New Zealand.
Speaking under the theme, ‘Taking Care of Business,’ he said that SMEs should engage with government organisations such as ACC, IRD, Statistics New Zealand, WorkSafe, Employment New Zealand, ATEED and MBIE to derive the benefit of their experience, expertise and advise.
“These agencies will provide support and information that can help you run your businesses successfully,” he said.
Officials from the aforementioned agencies explained their role.
SMEs are the backbone of New Zealand’s economy but cash flow and marketing are their greatest challenges.
Experts say that small enterprises grossly under-leverage their assets. They often have excess capacity in both plant and labour and cannot consistently meet their customers’ delivery expectations. They accept orders or assignments which they are not capable of fulfilling.
Such anomalies can be removed if the government reviews its policies and programmes affecting the small businesses and provide additional incentives, tax holidays and/or lower levels of taxation and export assistance.
There is also a need to obtain a regular feedback from such enterprises on their performance, constraints and problems, to realign polices and strategies for their continued progress.
As mentioned, the incentives proposed for the small business sector are good but does not address all its concerns. Entrepreneurs today must confront a series of challenges- rising competition, fear of domination by multinationals, adverse impact of globalisation, increasing overheads, tariffs on exports and higher incidence of taxation and in some cases, double taxation.
Currency fluctuations are yet another factor that could swing their fortunes and the impact of the firming dollar on our exporters can be addressed only through timely lowering of interest rates.
Craig Foss and Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi with some of the attendees