Dti to push intra-Africa trade agenda

Trade and Industry director-general, Lionel October.

The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) received a “clean audit” during the 2017/18 financial year according to director-general Lionel October.

Briefing the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry on the department’s annual progress in meeting its objectives yesterday, he noted that this meant that its financial statements were free of misstatements and that there was no non-compliance with legislation reported.

“With regards to the transformation of the economy to promote industrial development, investment, competitiveness and employment creation, exports have doubled in the ten-year period, which has also seen R45 billion worth of investment by the majority of the world’s leading global vehicle manufacturers,” said October.

He pointed out that 22 new factories had been opened in the leather sector, supporting 2 200 jobs, while 849 enterprises had received financial support across all incentives during the period under review.

This, he said, would result in the projected retention of over 28 000 jobs and creation of 15 000 new jobs. Additionally, the department was able to leverage R36 billion of private sector investment.

According to October, the number of investors in operational Special Economic Zones increased from 72 to 84, with total direct jobs growing from 10 443 to 13 948.

He noted that the dti’s priority in the 2018/19 financial year was to promote intra-African trade as Africa remained a major destination for South Africa’s exports, estimated at around 30%. These exports mainly comprise value-added products, which October pointed out supported government’s industrial development, job creation and economic transformation objectives.

“The priority for this government in the medium term is to promote intra-African trade and broaden integration across existing regional communities within a development integration framework,” he added.

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