Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Nomalungelo Gina. Photo: Supplied
Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Nomalungelo Gina. Photo: Supplied

Innovation key to rebuilding SA's economy post Covid-19, says dti deputy minister

By Jehran Daniel Time of article published Jul 10, 2020

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Durban - Deputy Minister for Trade, Industry and Competition Nomalungelo Gina has said that innovation in business is required to rebuild the economy after the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Gina, although the government has put measures in place to soften the Covid-19 blow, these measures also can lead to a catch-22 situation in which there are disruptions in the supply of goods and services. 

“This is having a detrimental effect on our respective economies and threatens the livelihoods of millions of people. The economic fallout from this pandemic is imposing additional pressure on the already fragile and overstretched public purse,” said the deputy minister during a trade and investment virtual seminar with Zambia on Thursday. 

"It is leading to lower private sector investment expenditure and it is cutting household income. This diminishes the growth prospect of our countries and is eroding the progress achieved in our fight against poverty,” she added. 

The seminar was hosted with a view to strengthening the business relationship between South Africa and Zambia. 

“Firstly, I call for higher levels of co-operation and collaboration across the board. Secondly, the recently adopted Southern African Development Community (SADC) guidelines on harmonisation and facilitation of cross-border transport operations across the region during the Covid-19 pandemic must provide a solid foundation for our two countries to find a common ground,” said Gina.

Gina said the two countries should adopt a bilateral economic co-operation model that would enable them to turn the pandemic into an economic opportunity. 

On Thursday, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Dr Blade Nzimande released the results of the Business Innovation Survey (BIS) for the 2014–2016 period. 

Nzimande explained that the survey was a major source of evidence and helped to update statistical indicators on business innovation performance in the country.

“The survey results are being published at a time when businesses are being forced to become innovative in order to survive in the unusual circumstances created by the outbreak of Covid-19. With stringent safety regulations to combat the spread of the virus, the products and services sectors need to innovate to ensure people's safety and business continuity,” said the minister. 

“BIS shows that local businesses invested in innovation activities that helped them and their workforces to prepare for technological and organisational change,” Nzimande explained. 

African News Agency (ANA)

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