The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies says the South African government has decided to prioritise the manufacturing sector for support as it has recognised its crucial role in achieving sustainable economic growth in the country. Minister Davies was speaking at a business breakfast session hosted by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the Killarney Country Club in Johannesburg today.
“The New Growth Path identifies a number of job drivers. And one of those that the dti is the custodian of is manufacturing. Both the New Growth Path and the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) have singled out manufacturing as a crucial job driver in the country’s economy. This is the path that every country that has moved from being undeveloped to being developed country has followed. We have taken a view that manufacturing is fundamental and integral to our economic growth. We have no doubt that we need to --industrialise our country and immediately to address the potential threat of de-industrialisation,” said Minister Davies.
He added that through IPAP, there were numerous sectors that government had singled out for particular attention in order to boost their capacity through various government initiatives after identifying major opportunities for industrial development in them. These include metal fabrication, capital equipment and transport equipment, agro-processing, automotive, clothing and textile and green economy
He added that the metal fabrication, capital equipment and transport equipment was poised to benefit greatly from new infrastructure development programme as government saw industrialisation as the key outcome of infrastructure development.
“We will upgrade the entire infrastructure we need to make our economy more effective but also we will be creating opportunities for industrialisation. We are seeking to build industrial capacity through supply industries into infrastructure programme. That is where opportunities in the metal fabrication capital equipment and transport equipment sector lie. We have already designated particular products or line of products required for the infrastructure programme to be sourced from local manufacturers. These include railway equipment, power lines and medicines,” said Davies.
The CEO of SACCI, Mr Neren Rau, said: SACCI supports the position of Minister Davies that it is crucial for the process of job creation that South Africa must raise productivity in the economy broadly, and specifically in the manufacturing sector. South Africa’s historical competitive edge (cheap electricity) is no longer available and a structural change is needed to reposition the productive economy towards higher levels of value addition.”