Heightening the economy and creation of jobs through Special Economic Zones and infrastructure a focal point
The month of February in the country is a critical one with every citizen all ears to comprehend the direction for the country’s governance and the state’s outlook into the future. The various activities that line up during this month set the goals, projections and how the State sees the country ‘s state of affairs being elevated to another level , critically having to commit to the aspirations of the people and those that contribute to the economy which ensures that the country is competitive and governable.
The most observed activities to kick start the year is when the President of the Republic delivers the eagerly awaited State of the Nation Address (SONA) and then followed by the articulation of financial affairs by the Minister of Finance through the Budget Speech. These two activities are not merely addresses that are taken frivolously or regarded as routine, however they are contemplated , interrogated immensely and critically by a wide spectrum of groups among others political groups, business fraternity, market analysts, financiers, government funded institutions, ordinary citizens and the world at large.
The recently presented SONA laid the vision of the country whereas the Budget Speech by Minister Malusi Gigaba significantly articulated the synopsis of the country’s economy, expenditure projections, amendments to tax distribution of revenue across all spheres of government and distribution of expenditure across national departments.
Due to limited resources, thorough budgeting process is significant and allocation has to be well thought and motivated. It remains a cringing time for all parties dependent on the allocation to demonstrate the vision of prosperity and critically good administration and governance in executing their mandate to ensure that they remain in the pulse of the pivotal financial decisions taken.
The Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone is one other entity that is entirely dependent on decisions taken by the State on its existence and execution of its mandate; and it was recently revitalizing to note that the Special Economic Zones are still regarded as the sought after contributor to the government ‘s vision of driving economic growth through domestic and foreign direct investments and also seen as possessing huge potential of changing the economic landscape of the country thereby opening up opportunities of employment, skills and socio economic development.
The President of the Republic, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa was very clear in saying that the country’s optimum drive is “to pursue higher levels of economic growth and investment, and we need to take additional measures to reduce poverty and meet the needs of the unemployed”. ‘We will organise the Investment Conference in the next few months targeting both domestic and international investors to market compelling investment opportunities found in the country’.
‘We are going to promote greater investment in key manufacturing sectors through the strategic use of incentives and other measures’.
‘’Special Economic Zones remain important instruments we will use to attract strategic foreign and domestic direct investment, build targeted industrial capabilities, and establish new industrial hubs”.
The emphasis of Special Economic Zones and Industrialisation was further corroborated by Minister of Finance, Mr Malusi Gigaba on his recent Budget Speech where he confirmed the allocation of R4.9 billion for industrial infrastructure projects over medium term for Special Economic Zones, government - owned industrial and critical infrastructure projects to promote industrial development and increase investment and exports of value-added commodities.
Gigaba further confirmed that six (6) Special Economic Zones have been approved, and this has been concluded in close engagements with Department of Trade and Industry. The approvals finally suggest that qualifying companies will benefit from the allocated incentives such as reduced corporate tax rate, claim employment tax incentives for workers, VAT and Customs Relief, building allowances and others.
Amongst the 6 approved Special Economic Zones, the RBIDZ is more than delighted to highlight that it is one of them, and this means that qualifying companies located within the SEZ or rather our Industrial Development Zone will be eligible for the relevant incentives.
The centralisation of Special Economic Zones and budget allocation reinforces that the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone is still among the preferred destinations for investments and possesses all attributes to thrive and be a motor-force for economic emancipation.