The Director-General of the Department of Trade and Industry, Lionel October, has reemphasized the importance of the designation of the R2.5 billion Oral Solid Dosage tender describing it as the single biggest achievement achieved by the DTI during the course of this year.
Addressing Trade and Industry Portfolio Committee meeting in Parliament on Friday October said 70% of the tender, by volume, was set aside for domestic manufacturers. This was part of the designation of more than 70 pharmaceutical products announced by trade and industry minister Rob Davies under the preferential procurement framework in a move designed to create security of demand for domestic production in the sector.
October also said that the DTI’s intervention in the textile sector through the establishment of the Clothing Textiles Competitiveness Programme (CTCP) had stabilised production and employment in the sector.
He said that a series of outreach initiatives that were deployed to the country’s provinces for education and awareness purposes have been completed and the department has finalised the first draft of the Special Economic Zones Bill (SEZ).
October stated that the department of Trade and Industry has prioritised SMME’s payment and the hiring of women in Senior Management.
“Administratively, the DTI exceeded the compliance requirements of 30 days for the payment of creditors by finalising 90% of payments within 14 days and the remainder within 21 days. We have reduced the vacancy rate from 18% to 7.39% and have succeeded in exceeding the 43% target of hiring women in Senior Management Services (SMS) to 43.42%. It is my vision that soon we will achieve the 50-50 target of women in SMS positions,” added October
He told the committee that the key challenges that the department had encountered was the opening of new strategic offices in high growth markets due to the lack of funding required to implement these plans and the low uptake of incentives.
“There are various reasons for this but the most significant is the economic meltdown in the United States of America and the European Union. Naturally these are our biggest consumer of manufactured goods and have been reluctant to trade due to their instability. The local private sector is also reluctant to access incentives and manufacture as they are not guaranteed that their products will be consumed. A shift in the stability of the world economy will see rapid activity in this section,” concluded October.