R9.5bn to grow business competitiveness
23 February 2012
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has allocated R9.5-billion over the next three years to boost South African businesses through competitiveness incentives and investment in technology, enterprise development and agriculture.
The bulk of this - R5.75-billion - has been allocated to the Department of Trade and Industry as part of a manufacturing competitiveness enhancement programme which will kick off in April.
Special economic zones
Added to this, R2.25-billion has been set aside in incentives over the next three years for businesses that invest in special economic zones.
The remaining R1.5-billion has been allocated to provincial and rural agricultural colleges (R150-million), the Agricultural Research Council (R400-million), the Council for Geoscience (R200-million) and the Council for Mineral Technology (R150-million).
The Department of Science and Technology has also been allocated R350-million of the R9.5-billion to fund technology manufacturers, place graduates in small businesses, and commercialise new technology in nanotechnology, renewable energy and waste, titanium and satellite development.
The manufacturing competitiveness enhancement programme will provide production and distressed funding support to boost productivity and competitiveness, raise investment and create jobs.
Businesses that invest in new machinery, plant and equipment, as well as in product development, process redesign, standards accreditation, and feasibility and marketing studies, will qualify for the incentive.
The programme is aimed at labour-intensive sectors already covered by incentives - including the clothing, textiles, leather and footwear and automotive sectors.
Incentives will target improvements to business conditions and productivity through skills development, business incubation, reducing red tape, technology transfers and adaptation, and providing access to markets and logistics.
Last month, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies unveiled a new bill for special economic zones - which are an extension and improvement of the current industrial development zones.