The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies says that there is no conflict between the National Development Plan (NDP) and the Industrial Policy Action Plan (Ipap). This follows a call by the Democratic Alliance yesterday that Ipap should be rejected as it is in conflict with the NDP and allows government too great an interventionist role in the economy.
Briefing the Portfolio Committee of Trade and Industry in Parliament today, Minister Davies said that the call should be dismissed as it is misleading. He said that the Democratic Alliance is making sweeping ideological statements rather than focusing on specifics, and that these statements are not true.
‘The NDP does not say we should not have Ipap or soft to touch. Also contrary to DA’s assertion that the IPAP makes no reference to the NDP, under the Heading Policy Context for IPAP, the IPAP states ‘ South Africa’s long term vision of an equitable society is provided by the NDP.’
Davies told the Committee that there is nothing in the IPAP to suggest that government alone can solve all of the country’s problems as per DA’s claim. He said IPAP is fundamentally about raising PRIVATE investment through programmes that are consulted intensively with business and labour.
‘We have never tried to direct against the advice and the wisdom that come from the industry players, business and labour. We have worked with them in developing our programmes and we have gone through exercises of self-discovery to inform our programmes with players. Lastly we have negotiated the programmes with the players and that is the shape of Ipap’ he added.
Davies reiterated that the Industrial Policy Action Plan remain the flagship of the dti.
The Minister also defended the draft Licensing of Businesses Bill saying it was not government’s intention to impose more bureaucratic hurdles on small businesses as also claimed by the Democratic Alliance. The party said that the main provisions of the Bill are contrary to the policy proposals made in the National Development Plan and will make it more difficult to start and grow a business in South Africa.
However, Davies told the Trade and Industry Portfolio Committee that the proposed Bill amongst others is actually in line with what the DA-led Cape Town City Council is imposing in terms of the Business Act of 1991 which required all suppliers of foodstuffs (including hawkers), and operators of health and entertainment establishments to fill out a form and pay a fee of R25 — or R10 in the case of hawkers selling food on streets.
He added that the Bill is intended to ensure that the same standards of regulation are applied throughout the country and across all sectors. According to him the Bill will deal a blow to those who are operating legally.
‘The existing informal traders, hawkers, and small business, are subject to increasing competition from illegal operating entities in the country. Entities that trade in illegal goods, sub-standard products and probably employing illegal foreigners and not pay vat. The importance of this legislation is about creating a mechanism of dealing with all these illegal issues.
Minister Davies stated that the gist of the Bill is to create a simple, cheap and easy system that will assist curb illegal operations that result in unfair completion among businesses in the country.
Statement issued by the DTI