R5.8bn fund for manufacturing competition
Wednesday, 16 May 2012
If SA companies are to be relevant in global markets and especially in growing African markets, they have to raise their competitiveness says Trade & Industry Minister Rob Davies.
Launching the Department of Trade & Industry's R5.8bn manufacturing competitiveness enhancement programme on Tuesday, Davies said research had shown that those companies that were the first to fail during the recent economic downturn were those that had not modernised.
Davies pointed to a number of factors that impacted the competiveness of SA manufacturers including the over-valued rand/US Dollar exchange rate.
However, Davies said there were opportunities for SA manufacturers including entering various African markets.
"We are convinced that the African continent, including SA, is well placed in the medium term for strong growth," he said.
Davies went on to say that if SA wanted to be a significant player on the African continent it would have to make significant investments to improve its competitiveness.
Explaining the new programme, Davies said that a major aim was: "... encouraging companies to make competitiveness enhancement improvements now rather than later."
Davies said the programme was aimed at improving production output and was similar to the strategy used to help the clothing and textile sector.
"It is no secret that the clothing and textile sector was in dire straits, but by focusing on production output that sector has stabilised, and even in some cases increased employment," he said.
Among the programme's various grants would be one for production and another for the use of "green" energy.