Plans to aid economic development
THE KZN government departments have devised plans to promote radical economic development through among others advancing loans to small and medium companies to cushion them from late payment pitfalls and by providing the SMMEs with funds to carry out work given to them to by the government departments and municipalities.
The province will also enable entrepreneurs and cooperatives to receive basic business skills through the University of KwaZulu-Natal and cutting the municipal red tape that hinders small businesses participation in the lucrative tender system.
Economic development, tourism and environmental affairs MEC Sihle Zikalala unveiled the plans at the ongoing regional local economic development (LED) summit in Durban.
Zikalala said his department had signed an inter-governmental partnership agreement with KZN cooperative governance and traditional affairs and South African Local Government Association.
“We have embarked on various red tape reduction initiatives which include workshops and investigations in various municipalities in the province as a way of identifying major obstacles faced by small businesses and the public at large when dealing with the government and its entities,” he said.
The issues to be dealt with include complaints management systems, business licensing and permitting and compliance and enforcement of the government regulations (by-laws).
Zikalala said a combined sum of R77m for four main empowerment programmes, the Gijima local competitiveness fund, a conditional grant to stimulate local economic development in the eco-cycle waste sector, Sihleza Forestry Development, a project that involves the planting of trees by previously disadvantaged individuals for processing at Sappi plant, Radical Agrarian Socio-Economic Transformation (Raset) and Toyota Boshoku Quantum Localisation Plan.
This is a localisation of production programme for Toyota Quantum seats which was previously done in Japan.
“From the cited examples it is self-evident that LED has the propensity to give meaning to our vision of radically transforming the economy but provided we overcome the many challenges related to planning and LED implementation that periodically arises,” he said.
He said the position of the provincial government is that they can overcome the local economic challenges by adopting a participative approach to LED.
“Integrating resources available among different role players is also pivotal to the facilitation of critical economic gains and external benefits that otherwise would not be forthcoming.”
PARTNERSHIP: Sihle Zikalala unveiled the plans at the LED summit.