World Economy

S. Africa Firms in Distress

S. Africa Firms in DistressS. Africa Firms in Distress

The five billion rand ($361 million) manufacturing competitiveness enhancement program, established by the government to cushion local manufacturers from the effects of the global financial crisis, has been exhausted, leaving a lot of companies in distress, BDLive reported. The department of trade industry, under which the fund falls, said it had suspended new applications but would continue to service existing ones. It said a new application window would be opened in April pending the availability of funds. Generally known as the MCEP, the program provides a cash grant to companies planning to upgrade their machinery or buildings, or to invest in training. It has been perennially oversubscribed as distressed companies look to the state for help.