Country must step up industrialization to build inclusive economy: Ebrahim Patel

South Africa can play a bigger role in the world of regional production hubs by focusing on improving the dynamism and capacity of its industrial base, the minister for trade, industry and development said. Competition, Ebrahim Patel.

Presenting the department’s 2022/23 budget vote to parliament on Friday, the minister said the country must step up industrialization by leading transformation to build an inclusive economy, which will create growth opportunities for businesses.

“[To] build a state capable of executing our strategy, we have defined in the annual plan about 150 specific actions and indicators,” he said.

Patel said DTIC’s pursuit of industrialization was aimed at increasing the level of local production, securing parts of the local market from lost imports and boosting value-added exports.

He said he was absorbing manpower, the country needed jobs or providers of essential public goods, health care or major sources of foreign exchange.

Patel said the work of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic) on spearheading the transformation aims to create opportunities for all South Africans.

“This requires the concentration of our economy [by] the opening of exclusive markets for products and services to the participation of all. It is also about our enduring commitment to supporting black industrialists and workers who were previously denied access to opportunities for economic ownership and participation.”

In addition, he said it is also about ensuring a spatial strategy that informs how the country builds and supports a new model of special economic zones and industrial parks in secondary co-hub cities.

“It is informed by the principle of trying to expand industrial activity beyond its concentration in urban metropolitan areas. Transformation is about building an economy that works well where people are.”

Economic recovery and deepening industrialization

Patel said the dtic entities will collectively offer R22 billion in customer support packages to businesses over the next 12 months.

“This will be complemented by strategic support to deepen the implementation of our master plans, including the launch of the new R400m furniture growth funding partnerships with manufacturers and retailers,” Patel said.

To support its localization efforts, the DTIC will aim to increase output from targeted local industrial production by R40 billion.

He said this would bring the department closer to its five-year target of R200 billion.

“Our investment facilitation and promotion activities will aim to unlock at least R120 billion of private sector investment over the next 12 months,” he said.

On DTIC’s first steps in seizing green industrialization opportunities through green roadmaps for hydrogen and electric vehicles, Patel said the department has made “significant progress” in finding practical options.

During the last fiscal year, the department identified possible funding. It published a draft green paper and received feedback from stakeholders on it.

“We will now table our draft Green Hydrogen Commercialization Strategy to Cabinet for review and guidance by the end of August, and our electric vehicle roadmap by the end of October.

“Over the next year, DTIC entity officials will work hard to secure at least R600 billion in manufacturing exports with a package of support measures to expand and diversify South African exports and secure the future. business in Africa,” he said.

Competition Commission

Patel said the Competition Commission is conducting a market investigation into online services such as e-commerce, tourism, accommodation, catering and other online delivery platforms which will be completed during this year.

It will also launch a new fresh produce markets survey, which should provide information and relief to consumers in the face of high and rising food bills.

CFTA

Patel said the government would begin the next phase of the AfCFTA negotiations by developing draft protocols on competition, intellectual property and investment.

Working in these important areas, he said, will enable companies to manage their expansion into the rest of Africa.

“We will also make available a multi-billion rand facility to cover strategic export risks through the Export Credit Insurance Corporation. This facility will complement our efforts to launch more export networks with entrepreneurs to share knowledge and coordinate government support among exporters,” he said.

(With contributions from the South African government press release)

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