The Select Committee on Trade and International Relations has urged government to find ways to enhance the manufacturing sector.
The committee visited the Department of Trade and Industry’s (dti) campus on Tuesday where it received briefings on the manufacturing industries and the National Lotteries Commission.
The committee heard that electricity supply as well as costs municipalities charge have the potential to constraint the country’s manufacturing sector.
Chairperson of the Committee Eddie Makue said a skills revolution in the manufacturing sector needs to happen and that energy supply challenges need to be addressed.
These challenges need to be addressed so that they do not hinder job creation, skills empowerment, beneficiation and localisation, said Makue.
“In the country we should be looking to extend economic benefit from all the investments in SA to the region. Manufacturing is pivotal and all government departments should come on board especially if were are to successfully implement the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP),” said Makue.
The committee heard from the dti that a number of manufacturing companies had to close shop when the country experienced electricity supply challenges.
“The manufacturing sector is pivotal in job creation as envisaged in the National Development Plan (NDP). Assembling of goods should be complemented with transfer of skills and beneficiation,” he said.
The department’s Chief Director responsible for Industrial Policy, Zukiswa Ncapayi, stressed that IPAP had proven itself as an important tool for strengthening intra-government integration and coordination.
“Successive annual iterations of IPAP have introduced new themes and focus areas to achieve a higher impact industrial policy throughout the years. The 2016 iteration introduces an export focus leveraging a devalued currency,” she explained.
Ncapayi said 35 projects representing investment to the value of R3.7 billion have already been supported by R979 million from the dti as part of the Automotive Incentive Scheme (AIS).
It is evident that the implementation of the IPAP -which is based on the need to industrialise the South African economy – requires more departments and it therefore cannot be the Department of Trade and Industry’s sole responsibility.
“It is evident that the IPAP implementation requires a lot of other departments, it cannot be the dti’s alone. Beneficiation and localisation should happen at a large scale in manufacturing so that economic benefits are extended to the greater number of South Africans,” he said.
The committee, which also visited Transnet’s advanced manufacturing plant in Koedoespoort, expressed satisfaction with operations at the plant.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK