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THE government has released its new industrial policy action plan, which kicks in on April 1 with the promise of 2,5million new jobs by 2020.
"It is neither a wish list nor a set of unattainable objectives. It is an action plan which, like any other, will require sustained and focussed work and perseverance if it is to succeed - which it must," Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies told Parliament yesterday.
The 95-page plan breaks down into four components, each including measurable targets and deadlines.
Davies told reporters before presenting it to MPs that the document had been approved by the cabinet and would be implemented from the start of the 2010-11 financial year on April 1.
He said the government would continue to consult labour and the private sector to refine its proposals, but insisted it was a confirmed policy document and not a draft.
"This is it. There's nothing else," he said.
President Jacob Zuma referred to the plan in his widely criticised State of the Nation Address last week. He refused to give details, saying it and other government initiatives to bolster growth, jobs and service delivery would be presented by his ministers over the following three weeks.
The plan's four pillars are:
lIncreased investment in three productive sectors of the economy - with more concessional financing from institutions such as the Industrial Development Corporation;
lNew legislation, regulation and practice notes to promote the local manufacture of things the government needs to buy;
lStrategic trade policy including tariff adjustments to defend the local economy - as well as enhanced customs policing to prevent illegal imports and price manipulation; and
lA crackdown on anti-competitive practices that undermine labour absorbing local production.
Davies said the plan would focus initially on three sectors thought to have high labour absorption capacity or value-adding potential.
The first sector would include metals fabrication, energy savings industries and agro-processing.
The plan would use the buying power of the state's infrastructure programme to underpin local manufacture of items ranging from locomotives and train coaches to solar and wind generators.
The second sector includes industries already targeted in the country's first 2007 industrial policy action plan. These include auto and component manufacture, minerals processing, pharmaceuticals and clothing and textiles.
The third sector would include nuclear technology and advanced materials - and would try to build South Africa's international presence in these markets.