Trade and Industry deputy minister welcomes KZN business sector’s willingness to tackle challenges brought on by July unrest, looting
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DURBAN - The Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Nomalungelo Gina says she is encouraged by the business sector’s willingness to come up with solutions to tackle the challenges that have arisen due to the looting and unrest in July.
Gina has been engaging communities, businesses and investors in KwaZulu-Natal in order to find ways to restore business confidence in the economy of the province.
Gina met with Coral International and other retail store owners this week. In her opening address to the business owners, Gina emphasised the importance of constructive participation of all stakeholders in resolving issues and reopening economic nodes in the province.
“The objective of these meetings is to craft a strategic path towards the re-opening, re-building, re-setting and re-employing of workers who have lost their jobs due to the July incidents. Given the decline in the overall economic outlook of the country, all stakeholders need to continuously engage in the prioritisation and expediting of the resolution of any existing concerns in public, private and community fronts,” said Gina.
Gina said she was encouraged by the private sector’s willingness to step in and come up with speedy solutions.
“Having witnessed the plight of affected communities and businesses, I will fast-track the process of conscientising our sister departments on the need to respond urgently to the highlighted concerns here today. These matters will be taken back to responsible Cabinet committees so that such matters are attended to through dedicated collaboration,” she said.
Speaking on behalf of the business owners, Mahomed Omar assured government of continued support and commitment in investing in the economy of KZN.
“We remain resolute in our investment commitments to the people of the province and the country. However, our earnest appeal to government is to have commensurate relief packages that will enable business to deal with the dissipation of businesses affected by both Covid-19 and the destruction of businesses that took place in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces.
“As an example, our property portfolio continues to see an exodus of businesses, through closure or seeking rental holidays. Business alone cannot afford to offer these without a direct support of relief or reduction of municipality rates and revenues. Failure to resolve these timeously will result in huge job losses and disinvestments,” said Omar.
Business representatives in attendance said they were grateful for the initiative of the Department of Trade and Industry to engage all stakeholders to attain sustainable socio-economic development.