Archive for category Socio-economic development
The minister has gazetted proposed changes to the B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice.
The proposals are gazetted in terms of Section 9(5) of the act, which gives interested persons the opportunity of commenting for a period of 60 days from the date of publication of his notice. (18th February 2011).
The proposals affect enterprise development (codes 600/806) and socio-economic development (codes 700/807).
1) Enterprise Development – Shorter payment periods:
Change in shorter payment periods: The existing codes state that you can earn ED points by offering shorter payment periods to suppliers. The codes say that if you pay COD, you can claim 15/15 (i.e 100%) of the value of the payment. If you pay one day after receiving the invoice you can recognise 14/15th of the value. If you pay 5 days after receiving the invoice you can recognise 10/15th , ie. 66.6% of the payment value and so on. The old codes stated that you cannot go beyond 10 days for your payment.
The actual formula used is (15 minus number of days from date of invoice)/15
The proposed amendment allows you to take as long as 15 days to repay. It should actually be only 14 days though!
If you take 14 days to pay then you can recognise (15-14)/15 of your payment: ie 1/15th of the payment – 6.67% of the payment.
If you take 15 days to pay, the formula is (15-15)/15 = 0% which is why we stated that it can only be 14 days!
This is an extra dispensation given to companies and public enterprises that find it difficult to arrange payment as fast as 10 days. The extra benefit is very small though. If you take 12 days to pay an invoice to an approved beneficiary, you can only recognise 3/15th, ie 20% of your payment spend.
What is more interesting is the fact that the minister has given this dispensation on the shorter payment periods. Without doubt shorter payment periods is the most controversial ED activity. In the past many agencies used to regard only a small portion of the shorter payment as being recognisable ED spend. They use the formula of (15 – days to pay) as a percentage. so, if you paid COD, ie zero days, they saw it as (15-0)% of the payment = 15% of payment. We had asked the dti for an explanation and they gave us the interpretation as we have always used. Recently ABVA issued practice notes reverting back to the old arrangements. Fortunately only a few verification agencies are following this incorrect method.
There must be a reason for the dti emphasising shorter payment period, and maybe this is it. In our own submission, we will recommend that the dti issue a very specific explanation and worked example to ensure consistency.
2) Enterprise Development/Socio-economic development – Change from average annual spend to annual basis:
The codes state that ED and SED contributions are measured cumulatively (average annual) from date of inception of the codes, or even up to 5 years prior to the codes (which were issued in 2007.). This means that if your NPAT (net profit after tax) in 2007 was R1m and R1.5m in 2008, R1.3m in 2009 and R2m in 2010, then for your ED calculation our target is set at 3% of the cumulative profit of R5.8m = R174 000.
Your spend is also cumulative so if you spent R24 000 in 2007, R100 000 in 2008, R50 000 in 2009, then you would have reached target in 2010 by 2009 already, and would earn full points in 2010. We used to use the phrase “you can bank your overspend”, so if a company had overspent one year, the overspend would be carried forward to the next. There are good reasons to use the cumulative method: No one really knows what their net profit after tax will be until after their audit and their tax assessment. The best they can do prior to the year-end is use estimates and budgeted figures. With the new proposal, to be on the safe side, a company will have to overspend slightly just in case it turns out that their net profit after tax is higher than expected. The overspend will be lost next year.
Many companies have not yet begun their empowerment journey. Some have spent no money on ED or SED, so they would have had to make up a huge amount of spend if the cumulative had applied. This could have been asking them to spend 12% of NPAT on ED and 4% on SED over the past 4 years. Since the majority of businesses are not yet compliant they will be happy with the new proposed ruling. Businesses that have overspent on their ED and SEC will be unhappy.
Transitional period: There is no direct transitional period for the proposed changes. Paragraph 5 of code 600 and code 700 does state: “The Minister may from time to time by notice in the gazette revise or substitute the Benefit Factor Matrix. Any changes will only be applicable to Compliance Reports prepared for a measured entity in respect of the first 12 month period following the gazetting of a revision or substitution.”
The benefit factor matrix (annexe 600 (a)) lists the various types of contributions that can qualify as ED (and similar with SED). Paragraph 5 states that any changes to this annexure comes into effect only after 12 months. The Minister’s proposed changes however affect both the benefit factor matrix – the early payment periods , and the actual code 600 – the change from average annual to annual.
The shorter payment period will therefore only come into operation in 12 months time, but the change from cumulative to annual would come into effect as soon as it is gazetted.
We do not disagree with the proposed amendments, though we will recommend that the minister allow a transitional period for those companies that have overspent on their ED and SED targets. We welcome the fact that the minister is issuing amendments, proving that B-BBEE is still top of mind. We still have huge problems with lack of standards, fronting and lack of clear interpretations of the codes. Even these proposed changes will not clear up many issues and we will be issuing our comments to the dti recommending that when they issue this amendment, they clarify some of the issues referred to.
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Finally, after years of nagging, we’ve now got the TELKM scorecard. They finally issueda verified scorrecard on 8th October 2009. Their score is a rather poor level 5. Their ownership points is 7.24, management 11 – full makrs. Employment equity is 7.86 – lss than half the points available. Skills development is 10.48 which means they are making an effort to train their staff. Procurement is good at 18.19 pints which means they are making abig effot to deal with compliant suppliers. Eneterprise development is 0- showing that they are giving their suppliers a hard time by demanding compliancy, but making no effort to assist those very enterprises that do need help. Worse, socio economic development is 3.8 out of 5 showing that they spend less than the 1% industry norm on their CSI activities.
Normally I praise any company for making any effort towards transfomation, but I expect more of TELKOM. It took ages for them to issue a certificate, ostensibly because of their difficulty in identifying their shareholders, but assured us they were compliant in other ways. To push procurement at the expense of enterprise development is not a good strategy. and to care so little for their community that they do not reach targets on SED is unforgiveable. It should be remembered that both ED and SED are based on cumulative spend since 2007, so it is likley that TELKOM have never met targets on both those items for that past 2 years, and to reach targets in 2010 will be that much harder.
One of the simplest and effective ways of earning BBBEE points is to increase the level of spending on Socio-Economic Development (SED). SED is one of the seven elements of a BEE scorecard focusing on the extent to which an organization carries out initiatives intended to uplift the South African society. It is worth 25 points for a Qualifying Small Enterprise and 5 points for a Generic company.
Publicity is the deliberate attempt to manage the public’s perception of a company and its products. From a marketing perspective, publicity is one of the variables that comprise the promotional mix where as promotion is one of the variables that comprise the marketing mix.
Therefore, without a shade of doubt, companies stand to gain immensely by channeling significant investment levels towards SED initiatives not only by earning valuable BEE points, but also from a marketing perspective. Investing in SED builds a superb image and an explosive reputation for an organization.
Needless to say, it is of paramount importance for companies to note that modern consumers are incredibly well informed and educated. They identify themselves with reputable organizations. They recognize and appreciate the active involvement of a company in uplifting the society.
It makes sense therefore for companies to engage on those SED projects, which relate to their field of expertise. Amongst other issues, such projects may be targeted towards education, HIV/AIDS, projects for the disabled and other community building initiatives.
However, engaging in SED for the purpose of earning BEE points and building a good image is a misfired and twisted approach. The bottom line is, it does not support the ideal transformation of the society and certainly it is not good enough to create a meaningful and sustainable improvement. Such entities will enjoy in the short-term and definitely not in the long-term. A company’s SED policy should be based on the commitment to contribute to the constructive transformation of the South African society. In this way, an organization gains an enormous amount of publicity at the same time earning priceless BEE points.
To put this into perspective, let us take a company that identifies an orphanage whose walls are an eye’s nightmare. It then invests in painting those walls giving them a fresh and stunning look. Such an initiative does not give back anything physical like money to that particular organization. If those involved in such a project are doing it based on the commitment to make a positive difference, that instant improvement of the orphanage’s walls may be emotionally rewarding but moreover, the community recognizes and appreciates that effort. Through such an investment a company builds a respectable and sustainable image and an explosive reputation whilst at the same time improving on its BEE points.
Socio-economic Development is one of the noble and good ways to earn BEE points. The key principle of Socio-economic developments is for enterprises to carry out initiatives that result in the beneficiaries having sustainable access to the economy and hence reduce the poverty barrier. However it involves costs to the enterprise since the enterprise should spend 1% of its Net Profit After Tax to earn all the points available.
In this period of recession where budgets are tight and management of costs is imperative, it is prudent for companies to align their social development programs that include corporate social investment, corporate social responsibility and marketing programs with their BEE targets and initiatives. We always say BEE initiatives should be implemented within the context of sound business principles. So I encourage businesses to incorporate and align their BEE activities with business goals and strategies. If your business strategies are linked to your social development campaigns the enterprise can earn the BEE points required whilst the enterprise market its image, brands or services and gain respect from government and customers.