Proudly SA calls for more local manufacturing investment

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Proudly South Africa says there is a need for greater support for locally-made products. It urges corporates and industry bodies to galvanise their members to choose local products, thereby supporting job creation in the country.

A report commissioned by the organisation shows that investing in local manufacturing can help grow the economy, create jobs and increase the tax base.

Activity in the manufacturing sector has been slowing since before COVID-19, with competitiveness in the sector said to be lagging emerging market peers.

The sector has endured electricity supply constraints and logistics challenges.

Economist Dr Iraj Abedian says the manufacturing sector is in urgent need of a turnaround in terms of its contribution to the economy as well as export competitiveness.

A Proudly South African study shows there are still opportunities in the sector and they require focus from the government and the private sector to unlock them.

“Our report suggests that we need to separate 2 categories of requirements for revitalising our manufacturing, 1 we should, no matter which sector  those are systemic requirements, for example, we need to have electricity, you need to have ports, transportation, water and so on, those are irrespective of which type of industry you want to promote, and then the second one is for specific industries, for specific sectors you need to have a different set of policies, government has introduced the sectoral master plans, we think that’s a move in the right direction, however, the plan cannot remain plans, they need to be implemented.”

Proudly SA calls for an increase in investments in the local manufacturing sector to help solve problems such as unemployment and to secure supply chains for various products.

Proudly SA CEO Eustace Mashimbye says, “The study calls for a 10% increase in investments in manufacturing to help not only halt that slow down but to also as a labour-intensive industry in its nature see it flourishing doing better, absorbing more people into jobs and ensuring that we can be sustainable, it’s also about the security of supply in instances where we may encounter global supply chain disruptions but most importantly it’s the triple challenges of unemployment poverty and inequality.”

Business says private sector reluctance to invest stems from the slow implementation of policies and reforms by the government.

Black Business Council CEO, Kganki Matabane says, “Most of the business people don’t necessarily believe in what the government says mainly because of what has transpired over the past 29 years. There are a lot of talks, a lot of plans but nothing much has been implemented. And I think, hence private sector is also reluctant because it’s important for govt to create as you know a conducive environment to enable the private sector to do what it’s supposed to do.”

Matabane says however that not all is lost. He says the private sector has demonstrated during the COVID pandemic that it can work together to promote localisation and help create jobs.