PRETORIA: The manufacturing sector is still key to growing the economy and contributing to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), says KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu.
The sector also needed to expand, said the Premier.
Manufacturing should be brought to prominence
"Big manufacturing companies need to work with government and pull those who are emerging so that the sector can expand and provide sustainable jobs for the country. The sector also needs to work with the government to achieve transformation and transfer skills," said Mchunu.
The Premier said manufacturing should be brought to its prominence like in 1994 when it contributed 20% to South Africa's GDP. This, he said, could only be done if all role players worked together and exchanged ideas on how to improve the sector.
Premier Mchunu was speaking at two-day Industrial Efficiency Conference in Durban. The conference, which was attended by more than 200 delegates, aimed to create a platform to raise awareness, educate and share information with the industry on issues affecting the sustainability and profitability of manufacturing companies.
He added that the sector would only grow if resources and skills could be prioritised and innovations explored.
Funds and support to grow the industry
Chief director of Industrial Procurement at the Department of Trade and Industry, Dr Tebogo Makube, said that R2 billion had been allocated over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period to manufacturing development incentives. The funds are for the support of growing industries, such as Business Process Outsourcing.
"The Manufacturing Competitiveness Enhancement Programme (MCEP) will spend R5.4 billion over the MTEF and will assist companies with financial support to upgrade production facilities," he said. He urged companies to make use of incentives from the dti and other government development finance institutions in the country.
The programme offers incentives designed to drive growth and promote competitiveness in the manufacturing sector. It includes a package of incentives specifically designed for established manufacturers, with the aim of promoting competitiveness and retaining jobs.
The Industrial Efficiency Conference is hosted by the National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa (NCPC-SA) in conjunction with the KwaZulu-Natal Manufacturing Indaba.