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The department of trade and industry (the dti) on Tuesday, said that the 26 approved Industrial Parks across South Africa can become Special Economic Zones (SEZs) that can contribute immensely to the economy and create jobs in future if given proper infrastructure, utilities, and management.
SEZs are geographically designated areas of a country set aside for specifically targeted economic activities, supported through special arrangements, that may include laws, and systems that are often different from those that apply in the rest of the country.
Speaking at the opening of the two-day Industrial Parks Symposium in Midrand, director-general of the dti Lionel October said all the challenges that have been faced by the Industrial Parks in the former homelands areas can be sorted out and made more productive, and attract other businesses to operate in them.
October said this could be achieved with the support of the dti and the department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs’ municipal infrastructure grant.“When we talk about revitalising the industrial parks, we are talking about having proper roads for transportation of goods, proper sub-stations to provide electricity, providing cheaper rentals and avoiding overcharging these businesses operating in the parks,” October said.
“If this is done properly this will lead to lowering the cost of doing business and making our manufacturing sector competitive and sustainable. “October said it was up to the administrators to mobilize these resources and secure budgets from municipalities, provincial and national government and turn these pledges into concrete forms of world class facilities.
“We must propose to cabinet what is it that we want to see out of these parks and eventually they must have the same benefits and support as the SEZs. We can also find a way to fast track this process so that they too can be managed efficiently and businesses can be clustered together,” he said.