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In addition to the dire financial implications of the recent civil unrest and the impact of COVID-19 on the country, can the textile and clothing industry save the local job market while positively increasing the province’s GDP?
With this in mind, Premier Sihle Zikalala pointed out that during the pandemic, the Provincial Government developed the KwaZulu-Natal Economic Reconstruction and Transformation Plan. “This is a plan that promotes Public-Private Partnership to accelerate inclusive economic growth and distribution and create employment.”
The provincial government disaggregated the economy into 15 critical or priority sectors to successfully implement the economic recovery plan, attracting investment while driving exports. These are:
- Agriculture and Agro-Processing
- Clothing and Textiles
- Creative Industries
- Finance and Services
- Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), ICT and Innovation
- Health Innovation and Manufacturing
- Industrial Development
- Informal Sector
- Infrastructure Development (Water, Energy and Sanitation)
- Investment and Trade
- Manufacturing (Automotive, paper and pulp)
- Mining and Mineral Beneficiation
- Activation of the untapped opportunities in the Oceans Economy
- Transport and Logistics (Rail, Road and Air)
With these sectors earmarks to attract further investment into the area, the Premier notes tourism investment opportunities are currently being prepared through planning activities in order to make them ready for investors. Zikalala adds, “But tourism is not the only thing we officer, we are very rich in manufacturing and industrialisation. In addition to tourism is our two Special Economic Zones, the Dube Trade Port and the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zones which offer tax incentives to investors. We are working on establishing the Clothing and Textile Special Economic Zone and that will be located in the corridor from Newcastle, but the main hub will be in Ladysmith.”
With Newcastle already a clothing and textile hub boasting a stronghold of factories throughout the area, with a special economic zone potentially being established, local businessman, Andy Hsu explains that this project will benefit the local community in more ways than one if done correctly. “It will definitely be a plus, as it will bring about more job creation, boost our local economy and improve exports.”
Furthermore, the special economic zone will move KZN and NKZN in a more stable position following the recent civil unrest.
With the promise of development on the cards for the province? What are your thoughts?
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