Trade, Industry and Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG - The department of economic development, trade and industry should be at the forefront of South Africa’s economic growth initiatives and encourage investment in sectors most likely to attract foreign investment, a parliament committee said on Wednesday.

The department should implement all its programmes in order to play a stimulus role for the economy, the chairman of parliament's committee on trade and industry, economic development, small business development, tourism, employment and labour, Mandla Rayi said in a statement.

"It is critical that this department spearheads economic growth that will have a lasting impact on job creation,” Rayi said.

"Furthermore, it is critical that the department encourages investment in those sectors most likely to attract foreign direct investment, such as manufacturing."

The committee said the department had indicated that manufacturing was at the heart of its growth strategy, but persistent bottlenecks remained such as social inequality and the ease of doing business in South Africa.

“The economy needs to diversify and also prioritise exports. The economy cannot be a raw commodity-based economy longer than is required,” said Rayi. 

He welcomed the department’s initiatives to expand the economy, including reviving industrial parks, various incentives programmes and expanding special economic zones.

- African News Agency (ANA)