Cab­i­net dis­ap­pointed by lack of steel, alu­minium ex­emp­tion

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - BUSINESS - LUYOLO MKENTANE

FOL­LOW­ING US pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s threats to cut for­eign as­sis­tance dol­lars to coun­tries – in­clud­ing South Africa – who don’t vote with the US at the UN, Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s cab­i­net has ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment on the US de­ci­sion not to ex­empt the con­ti­nen­tal su­per­power from the ap­pli­ca­tion of steel and alu­minium du­ties.

The South African gov­ern­ment, which re­ceived about R3.2 bil­lion in the 2017/ 18 year ac­cord­ing to US­Aid, said it would con­tinue to en­gage with US au­thor­i­ties to find a mu­tu­ally ac­cept­able out­come.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter Nomvula Mokonyane said the cab­i­net also en­cour­aged do­mes­tic ex­porters to con­tinue to lobby US buy­ers to ap­ply for prod­uct ex­emp­tions, “as South African com­pa­nies ex­port niche prod­ucts and semi-pro­cessed prod­ucts for fur­ther pro­cess­ing in the US”.

The cab­i­net also wel­comed the com­ple­tion of the first phase of the re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion of the Phutha­ditjhaba In­dus­trial Park in the Free State as an “im­por­tant mile­stone” in im­ple­ment­ing the Re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion of In­dus­trial Parks Pro­gramme.

The R50 mil­lion up­grades are ex­pected to at­tract lo­cal en­trepreneurs to set up their op­er­a­tions due to the im­proved in­fra­struc­ture and se­cu­rity.

Also mak­ing news this week was the in­vest­ment an­nounce- ment by Africa’s largest drug­maker, Aspen Phar­ma­care, of R1bn in its drug plant in Port El­iz­a­beth, which cre­ated 500 much-needed jobs.

In her bud­get vote speech in Par­lia­ment this week, Mokonyane an­nounced a to­tal bud­get of R1.5bn for 2018/ 19, with R36m cut from the pre­vi­ous fi­nan­cial year.

Of the bud­get, 61% com­prised trans­fers to the en­ti­ties, with the Gov­ern­ment Com­mu­ni­ca­tion and In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices re­ceiv­ing the big­gest al­lo­ca­tion to drive com­mu­ni­ca­tion work, aware­ness and pro­mo­tion of gov­ern­ment ser­vices and pro­grammes, ac­cord­ing to Mokonyane.

Their pri­or­i­ties in the next decade would fo­cused on four ar­eas in­clud­ing cre­at­ing a new vi­sion for the broad­cast sec­tor, ac­cel­er­at­ing the mi­gra­tion from ana­logue to dig­i­tal, sta­bil­is­ing the en­ti­ties and the SABC and im­prov­ing or­gan­i­sa­tional ca­pac­ity.

Mokonyane said they re­quired part­ner­ships and col­lab­o­ra­tion with all stake­hold­ers be­cause they could not do it alone.

Mean­while, Africa’s largest mo­bile oper­a­tor MTN fell more than 4% in early trade be­fore par­ing the losses.

This af­ter the JSE- listed group is­sued a warn­ing to its share­hold­ers that Trump’s de­ci­sion to re­in­state sanc­tions against Iran could threaten its years-long ef­forts to repa­tri­ate R2.98bn in cash back to South Africa.

Also mak­ing news was the fact that busi­ness con­fi­dence has gone down to lows last seen dur­ing for­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s ru­inous reign.

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