Developing the economy of the Eastern Cape by creating jobs and supporting youth entrepreneurship are some of the key areas Premier Oscar Mabuyane outlined during his SOPA. Picture: ANA Reporter

Bhisho - Developing the economy of the Eastern Cape by creating jobs; supporting small and medium enterprises; and youth entrepreneurship are some of the key areas Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane outlined during his State of the  Province address on Friday.

Speaking at the Provincial Legislature in Bhisho, Mabuyane said the provincial government aimed to half the unemployment rate -- which was currently at 37 percent.

Mabuyane said the province would use its share of R1.1-billion stimulus package over three years to create projects that will enable job creation. 

He said R339-million of this has been allocated for 16 projects that will be implemented in 2019/20 financial year. 

Mabuyane said the details of these projects will be outlined by the provincial member of the executive council for finance, economic development, environmental affairs and tourism.

On oceans economy, Mabuyane said government would work with ordinary fishermen to make them commercially viable. 

"We're going to serve ordinary fishermen with fishing licences and access to the market. We will also provide them with fishing boats," said Mabuyane.

Mabuyane said the provincial government would direct R150-million toward the Isiqalo youth fund to promote youth entrepreneurship.

"This will assist young people in productive sectors such as manufacturing, ICT, Tourism, Maritime, Agro-Industry, sustainable energy and creative arts," said Mabuyane. 

On Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) support, Mabuyane said the province would develop an App to monitor the invoices for SMMEs that are doing work with the provincial government.

Mabuyane criticised government officials for withholding payments for SMMEs until they pay kickbacks known as "release fees".

"As this sixth administration we are not going to tolerate any delays in payment of SMMEs within 30 days," said Mabuyane. 

The province has established an investment council and is in a process of appointing investment envoy. 

African News Agency (ANA)