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Dept targets economic growth

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Dedat MEC Mac Jack outlined the various programmes that had been allocated a combined total of nearly R315 million over a 12-month period

Mac Jack. File image

SKILLS development, job creation and making the Northern Cape a prime tourist destination have been prioritised, with the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (Dedat) announcing yesterday that the bulk of the budget for the 2018/19 financial year will go towards encouraging sustainable economic growth in the Province.

During yesterday’s budget speech at the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature, Dedat MEC Mac Jack outlined the various programmes that had been allocated a combined total of nearly
R315 million over a 12-month period.

Over a quarter of the R70.636 million earmarked for tourism will go to the Northern Cape Tourism Authority (NCTA) to manage the promotion of the Province as a competitive tourism destination, while nearly half (R29.799 million) of the R64.949 million allocated for small business development will go to the Economic Growth Development Fund (EGDF) in the Province.

In excess of R65.5 million will be spent on administration by Dedat and R22.865 million will go towards policy, research and innovation.

Jack also announced that R50.054 million had been allocated towards trade and sector development, aimed at stimulating economic growth through the development of key sites, including the Port of Boegoebaai which will enable the export of iron-ore and manganese from the Northern Cape.

“During our recent mission to the People’s Republic of China, the Northern Cape Economic Development Agency entered into a memorandum of co-operation with the SA Honglin Investments Pty Ltd to pursue the development of the Northern Cape Economic Development Corridor as a natural extension to the National Development Plan and the Chinese One Belt, One Road initiative,” said the MEC.

“The Chinese investors have committed to take 20 youths, in and around the areas where the envisaged port is to be built, for skills development training in harbour-related programmes in China.”

Jack added that in order to kickstart this programme, a management committee would be formed and tasked with co-ordinating the proposed harbour development and associated rail and roads, as well as a possible cement plant, renewable energy project and possibly, a new water storage and hydro-electric project.

Jack also said that a memorandum of understanding had been signed between Hebei Geo University, Sol Plaatje University and the Kimberley International Diamond and Jewellery Academy (KIDJA), towards establishing a joint bachelor’s degree, which will be the first of its kind in the world, on diamond and jewellery development.

“This will see our students spending three years in China and one year in Kimberley to study everything about the diamond industry, which is meeting the growing market needs in China.

“It will also generate financial income to KDJI and KIDJA, as well as international awareness of the Kimberley diamond brand.

“The design and accreditation in South Africa on the joint bachelor’s degree programme will be completed in 2019.”

Jack also announced that Business Regulation and Governance had been allocated R40, 757 million of which the Liquor Board has been allocated R12.595 million and the gambling board has been allocated R14.704 million.

“NCEDA, the Northern Cape Liquor Board and the Northern Cape Gambling Board have completed their organisational realignment and the process of building better and capable state-owned entities is gaining momentum.

“During the course of this year, we will conclude the process of filling the vacancies in some of the boards of the entities and appoint new personnel in the administration of these entities.”