The South African Department of Trade and Industry (dti) is to introduce a dedicated incentive aimed at attracting investment to the agro-processing sector, says the Minister, Rob Davies.
"This sector is critical because of its labour intensity across the value chain and its high economic multipliers, especially with respect to exports. The incentive will contain strong conditionalities, including with respect to labour practices and empowerment," said Davies at the Manufacturing Indaba (comference) in Western Cape Province on Tuesday.
The indaba brought together the country's industrial movers and shakers with the intention of focusing on and boosting the growth potential of key industrial sectors, including automotive, construction, forestry and paper and packaging, among others.
Davies said the manufacturing sector and diversification of the economy was a key driver to attaining South Africa's economic growth objectives.
"We all know that the performance of our economy has been flat, but we were saved by the second-quarter gross domestic product manufacturing statistics. That was mainly through the implementation of a transparent localisation policy that we have developed and this result also demonstrates that manufacturing and diversification of our economy is highly critical if we are to achieve our economic strategic objectives," he added.
Davies said the largest parts of international trade were mainly focused on intermediate products.
The Member of the Executive Council (MEC) responsible for Economic Development and Tourism in Western Cape Province, Alan Winde, said the conference focused specifically on agro-processing and oil and gas as they had demonstrated themselves to be key drivers that promote manufacturing.
"We have given ourselves a target of enabling 60 000 jobs in oil and gas at Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone. We are also doing work on skills, energy and for the removing of administrative red tape that hampers the flow of business," said Winde.
He said the Western Cape government had set itself a target of producing 32,500 apprentices in the next three years to work in the energy sector and pleaded with delegates to make use of the unit established in his office to remove red tape..
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK