CAPE TOWN-- South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has announced the establishment of an incentive scheme aimed at stimulating investment in the metals and engineering sector.

Briefing the media ahead of the presentation of the department's Budget Vote in Parliament here Tuesday, he said: The next issue that I think is covered in the (Budget Vote) speech is that we are making an announcement about the new sector specific incentive.

"You will recall that last year, the one that we announced was on agro-processing. This year, we are announcing the sector-specific incentive on the metal and engineering value chain. It will be a 500-million Rand (about 39.7 million US dollars) new incentive that will be rolled-out."

Davies said that in some respects, the department has seen that it gets better value for money in the sector specific programmes.

Malebo Mabitje-Thompson, the department's Deputy Director-General for Incentive Development and Administration, said similar to the support that is being given to the auto sector, the incentive is aimed at supporting the purchasing of equipment as well as investing in competitiveness-enhancing activities of an enterprise.

and where it also makes sense, we will partner with some of the enterprises for supplier development and the reason we are doing it is that we are looking at the sector more as a value chain rather than just individual companies without looking at the supplier relationships," she added.

We are worried about the foundry sector. We are worried that if that sector continues to decline in the manner in which it is declining now, we will quickly de-industrialise. We want to stabilise the foundry sector and in doing so, also work with the engineering services."

Davies also revealed that under the Black Industrialist Programme's incentive grant, as at the end of the financial year that ended in March this year, the Deaprtment of Trade and Industry (dti) had supported 102 black industrialists.

He said that the programme has provided market access support to 48 of the 102 black industrialists and that the interventions have leveraged R8 billion in investments and led to the creation and the retention of 18,484 jobs.

We are also going to be announcing the shape of the new programme. Just to say we are setting the same target for the next two financial years, we want to support a further 100 black industrialists but we are also saying that we want to differentiate that support into different categories -- the pioneers, the catch-up and the infant stage support.


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