WC Minister calls for aggressive business development
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Oudtshoorn. 20 June 2012. 05h15. The Western Cape Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Alan Winde, spoke passionately on economic growth at a Mossel Bay Chamber of Business Breakfast yesterday.
Winde said that the Western Cape intends to be the best run regional government in the world.
The Minister stressed competitiveness as a major impetus for growth, and identified education; the cost of crime; prohibitive labour legislation; and national political uncertainty and instability as the biggest obstacles in the way of economic growth.
Winde told the audience that business is reluctant to reinvest in itself because of uncertainty and that even South African business prefers investment in the rest of Africa, rather than in South Africa. Currently some R350b is held in corporate cash reserves and it is expected that R560b will be so held by year end.
The DA wants to an economic growth rate of 8% in South Africa.
Currently South Africa is lacking behind the 6 African best growth economies out of the ten best world wide. Winde said that if South Africa’s economic growth is excluded, the average African growth rate would rise by a point.
Winde wants to make it easy to start growing business in the Garden Route and Southern Cape. He specifically said that red tape has to be cut in order to make it easy for entrepreneurs to start and manage business. Winde wants to see inclusive businesses and challenged the audience on the preponderance of white owned businesses and the dearth of black businesses in the region.
The Minister identified five points for growth.
Market intelligence is to be pooled for optimum strategic planning and best fit decision making.
A clear vision must be cultivated to determine future skills needs and best practices.
A climate to attract and retain business must be created and sustainably maintained. Currently major corporations are leaving gauteng to establish their head offices elsewhere – even in Europe and Africa. The Western Cape must attract such businesses and does as is indicated by the establishment of the Steinhoff head office in Stellenbosch. This move resulted in executive, management and staff relocations to Stellenbosch and represents a major boost to the Stellenbosch and Western Cape economy.
New ways of running the economy must be considered and defined.
A strong business brand must be established. Wheras the Western Cape spends soemR140m annually on the promotion of tourism, only about R40m is spent on promoting business. The challenge is to create an environment in wgich to do business; to make it easy to do business; to incentify business and not to use business as a fiscal cash cow.
In answer to a question from Drewan Baird, publissher of OO, Winde said that he has only monitoring authority over the operations of local governments in the Western Cape and that he can only influence local governments to share his vision for the province.
Winde will visit Oudtshoorn in August as a guest of the Business Chamber.
In a private discussion before his address, Winde spoke to Drewan Baird of DBC; Willie Marais of AIFA; Guo Jiexiang of AVIC International Holding Corporation; Hannes Barnard of Aprolasa; and Cassie Nel of AIFA George about creating the ideal environment for business incentive and development in local governments. With reference to the current establishment of the AIFA Flight Training Academy in Oudtshoorn, Winde was adamant that if a particular town in the Western Cape shuns a bussiness opportunity, and if a local government does not encourage and accommodate a business opprtunity, he would take that opportunity away and introduce it to a town which will develop the opportunity.