Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies at the 2016 State of the Nation Address. [Image: CBN]

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies says the recently launched Black Industrialist Programme has already received pledges in excess of R30bn from development finance institutions.

Davies said this when he led a debate on President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address at the National Assembly, on Tuesday.

Davies launched the forum, set up to oversee the applications for the black industrialist programme, in December.

“I am happy to indicate that we already have pledges of over R30bn from institutions like the Land Bank, the Industrial Development Corporation, the Small Enterprise Finance Agency, the Development Bank of Southern Africa and some provincial organisations like the KwaZulu-Natal Growth Fund.

“We have already received applications and I am pleased to be able to say that the funding forum will hold its first meeting next month,” he said.

During his State of the Nation Address, Zuma said economic transformation and black empowerment remain a key part of all economic programmes of government. 

He said one of government’s new interventions is the black industrialist scheme, which has been launched to promote the participation of black entrepreneurs in manufacturing. 

He urged big business to partner the new manufacturers, including businesses owned by women and the youth, as part of broadening the ownership and control of the economy.

During the debate, Davies said during the course of this year, government will be introducing a new Industrial Policy Action Plan, which will cover the actions of this year.

“One of the new features is that we will be introducing the gas industrialisation, but will also be focusing on labour intensive sectors taking forward to work on the clothing and textile sector and agro-processing, [amongst others.]”

“The higher level of localisation that we have achieved has been achieved in a sense that we now have firms that would have supplied us with imports coming into South Africa investing and producing here.”

“But we are not at a point in localisation where we have sufficient local companies, particularly companies that are owned by the majority of this country’s population, that are driving jobs.”

“It is for that reason that we have launched a targeted black industrialist programme,” he said. 

Invest SA

Davies said, meanwhile, that government had established Invest SA, a one-stop shop set up to remove bottlenecks to make it easier to do business.

“On investment, we have sought to improve our investment facilitation.”

“This is a one-stop-shop that will include under it an intergovernmental clearing house of all the various agencies that are involved in taking regulatory decisions that will affect investment and this will be overseen by an Inter-Ministerial Committee that is chaired by the President,” he said.