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Johannesburg – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) says it has put aside R15 billion for sustainable growth and job creation.

In a statement issued late on Wednesday, DG Lionel October says this amount has been set aside for projected investments across all incentives to achieve sustainable growth and job creation

October was briefing the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry on the key planned interventions by the department in Parliament.

October says the department’s target, as well as the entire budget for the new financial year, will be spent trying to industrialise the country and broaden the manufacturing sector as well as support businesses that have globally competitive niche in the continent.

“The projected number of new jobs to be supported and number of jobs to be retained from enterprises is set at 6 000 while 800 projects have been approved through our incentives schemes to support enterprises in different sectors of the economy,” says October.

October told Members of Parliament that the number of jobs might increase due to the upstream and downstream of jobs created in the manufacturing sector. He says it is well-known that for every one job created in the manufacturing sector, four other jobs are created indirectly.

However, that figure might go up to 24 000, in addition to the 6 000 jobs initially targeted, he says.

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October says government manufacturing incentives, localisation and designation continue to strengthen the economy despite the negative global and domestic trading condition of South Africa’s products.

“The other biggest problem facing the economy is still the demand for our products and services. Our factories are not running at full capacity at the moment and the majority of these are faced with the decline of procurement from our own state-owned enterprises which have reduced their orders significantly especially in the locomotive sector,” he said.

October notes overall South African demand for goods from Africa also decreased by 7 percent in the last quarter of 2017 to R28 billion from R30 billion in the third quarter of the same year.

He said, even though the Southern African Development Community remained one of the biggest market for South African manufactured goods in Africa – accounting for almost 88 percent of total manufactured exports to Africa – a lot still needs to be done to target the rest of the continent.