Johannesburg, 13 August 2017 – THE Government should consider additional measures to protect local metals and engineering manufacturers from cheaper and subsidized imports, according to Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) CEO Kaizer Nyatsumba.
The influx of cheaper imports has eroded the competitiveness of local businesses, bringing key sub-sectors within manufacturing on the brink of collapse.
“The Government must do more to support fragile sectors from the unfair competition posed by subsidized imports,” Mr Nyatsumba said.
He said the sector had not fully recovered from the 2008 global financial crisis. “Instead, circumstances in the sector have deteriorated, with a number of our members either downscaling their operations or closing down. We need an urgent intervention to protect the sector and create jobs,” he added.
Recent economic data paints a picture of subdued conditions in the sector. The seasonally adjusted ABSA Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) declined by 3.8 points to 42.9 in July, a level last seen in the second half of 2009. All the major sub-indices declined.
Manufacturing is considered the engine of growth and employment. It is one of the largest contributors to South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Nyatsumba said the South African economy needed a vibrant and competitive manufacturing sector. “That is because, other than supporting other key sectors of the economy, manufacturing has more potential to create jobs and should be on the cutting edge of research and development as well as innovation,” he added.
The global competitiveness of manufacturers is one of the topics in next month’s Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba 2017, which will be held at the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) Conference Centre from 14-15 September. The conference is in its third year.
This year’s conference has attracted key industry players, policy makers and trade union leaders. Highlights of this year’s conference will include addresses by Minister of Labour Mildred Oliphant, Minister of Small Businesses Development Lindiwe Zulu and Cosatu General Secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali. ANC National Executive Committee member and the former Chairperson of the African Union (AU), Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, will deliver the closing address.
Other speakers will include Zimbabwean academic and political commentator Dr Ibbo Mandaza, businesswoman Dr Mamphela Ramphele, CEO of the of Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection Joel Netshitenzhe, CEO of the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority Dr Raymond Patel, Massmart Chairman Kuseni Dlamini,Chief Commissioner of the International Trade and Administration Commission Siyabulela Tsengiwe and the CEO of the Manufacturing Circle, Phillipa Rodseth.
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