New industrial action plan likely to be released in 2010

Johannesburg - A new Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) aimed at creating and retaining jobs is to be in place early next year, says Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies.

Addressing media following a meeting with Business Unity South Africa (Busa) on Monday, Minister Davies said the plan would be in place by January 2010.

"We are planning for the industry plan to be released in January," said Mr Davies following the meeting.

He said the new plan will have a "higher impact" than the one that already exists, adding that it would be an improvement on the current plan.

The current plan focuses on unlocking South African industrial development in a sustainable manner by identifying strategic industrial interventions.

It ensures the fast track implementation of development in the four lead sectors of the South African economy namely capital/transport equipment and metals; automotives and components; chemicals, plastic fabrication and pharmaceuticals; and forestry, pulp and paper, and furniture.

The minister said issues under discussion for the new IPAP include the extension of trade incentives, adding that for the clothing and textile industries, incentives would be given as well.

When coming to distressed sectors as a result of the recession, Mr Davies said that government would conclude some packages dealing with these sectors.

The minister said it was important to retain and create jobs, adding that sectors which are in distress will be assisted albeit with some restrictions or conditions.

The minister said many issues had been discussed at the meeting but that "the priority" was to "promote Inter African Trade".

Among other issues discussed at the meeting was the issue of protectionalism showed by 17 of the 20 G20 members which was of concern.

Black Management Forum President Jimmy Manyi said the forum concurred with the minister. "We are happy with the frankness and fresh approach to challenges we face. We had a good meeting with the minister," he said.