DURBAN - A province-wide launch of a groundbreaking bulk buying facility has made prospects of generational wealth creation and grassroots investment an achievable reality for thousands of KwaZulu-Natal entrepreneurs.
That was the assessment by the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala following the official launch of KZN's Bulk Buying and Warehousing Programme in Mandeni today.
The launch marks a huge milestone by the KZN Provincial Government and the people of KwaZulu-Natal and comes hot on the heels of a number of roadshows in various districts to familiarise communities and KZN traders with this historic initiative which looks set to later the landscape of the province's economy at local levels.
Zikalala said, "Bulk buying is the ultimate solution to township traders who, for years now, have been denied access to goods at affordable prices. Traders will now order, using the latest paperless technology, from a state-of-the-art warehouse in Mandeni and have their goods delivered at no cost to their shops".
It was a reprieve that was received with loud cheers and ululation by the hundreds of traders and community members who had converged at Sibusisiwe Hall in Mandeni to learn about the initiative.
Zikalala said that the success of the programme heralded a new chapter in the department’s ongoing efforts to support enterprise development, which it sees as key in the fight against poverty, unemployment, and inequality.
“We also view Bulk Buying as a crucial pillar of economic transformation and an important step in revitalizing township and rural economies. The initiative is being pioneered by our Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs in partnership with Ithala Development Finance Corporation," he said.
According to Zikalala, the purpose of Bulk Buying was to enable Black traders from KwaZulu-Natal to play a significant role in the mainstream of the wholesale and retail sectors. He added that this was in keeping with the agenda of radical economic transformation to change the structure and the architecture of the provincial economy and to enable our people to play a central role in it.
The programme involves central buying, warehousing and distribution of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), both perishable and non-perishable goods. Through it, we seek to harness the power of collective purchasing of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) by traders operating in a township and rural communities. Research indicates that South Africa’s food market overall is worth about R500 billion, with formal retailers accounting for 68 percent.
Zikalala said that through this initiative EDTEA seeks to lower the cost of sales for our small and emerging retailers in order for them to be competitive and be able to expand their market share and participate in the retail value chain.
"Ultimately, the programme is aimed at cutting the middlemen and ensuring that our retailers enjoy economies scale," he concluded.
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