The Ivorian Minister in charge of the Promotion of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), Felix Anoble invited, Monday in Abidjan, members of the digital press sector to register on the dedicated platforms for the SME Support Fund, set up by the State to help companies mitigate the Covid-19 crisis.Mr. Anoble made the call during a meeting with digital media bosses led by the Network of Online Press Professionals of Cote d’Ivoire (Repprelci), insisting that SMEs which will not provide the required documents, online, in accordance with the criteria, will not receive assistance.
“Try to sell yourself,” he said, adding he was open to the concerns of Repprelci members. A pure product of the private sector, Felix Anoble called on the leaders of the sector to reinvent themselves and seize priorities.
Barthelemy Kouame, Managing Director of Acturoutes, bluntly indicated that press companies in the digital sector in Cote d’Ivoire have “cash flow and financing problems,” a situation “aggravated” by the Covid crisis-19.
This morning, said Minister Felix Anoble, out of 22,000 companies registered on the table of the SME Support Fund, 400 were able to provide documents, but only 75 have complete documents and 33 really meet the required conditions.
To mitigate the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ivorian executive has set up a Support Fund for large companies, with a whopping CFA100 billion, a Support Fund for SMEs to the tune of CFA150 billion, then a special fund of solidarity and humanitarian emergency support of aboutCFA170 billion.
The conditions for access to the SME Support Fund have also been relaxed. Binding criteria have been lifted to make these conditions flexible, but despite this it is not obvious, Anoble noted.
“Ivorian SMEs do not like to make declarations, do not pay tax and CNPS (National Social Insurance Fund) contributions,” he went on. For the CNPS, the ministry asked SMEs to find protocols in which they agree to pay their contributions.
Mr. Lassina Serme, President of Repprelci, welcomed the spontaneity with which the minister agreed to interact with the umbrella organization of the Cote d’Ivoire digital press. He said he was happy with Mr. Anoble’s availability to accompany the digital press.
He declared said that as an SME, digital press companies fall under the Ministry of Promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises, ensuring that several companies in the sector are formalized today.
The new law on the legal regime for the press, taking digital media into account, was promulgated at the end of December 2017. However, the implementing decrees for the Press Support and Development Fund (FSDP) have not yet been signed to take into account the Ivorian digital press.
Repprelci is full of approaches. Regarding the authenticity of the information, the Ivorian digital press is self-regulating through the Observatory of digital media of Cote d’Ivoire (Omenci) set up by Repprelci, which with the support of Unesco, launched a fact-checking site focusing on the theme of Covid-19.
This site scans social networks, digital news sites and mainstream media to automatically correct fake news. Unesco, being satisfied with this project and its impact, has also decided to migrate this project for the upcoming electoral contests.
Repprelci is an organization created in 2006, bringing together the players of the digital press in Cote d’Ivoire. This umbrella body of Ivorian digital media has given itself the mission of organizing, structuring and promoting the digital press in Cote d’Ivoire..