Department of Trade, Industry and Competition
The trade, industry and competition department’s Annual Performance Plan 2020/21 and Strategic Plan 2020/25 targets will be reviewed to ensure better alignment to the response strategy to economic downturn and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The department announced this during a briefing on its plans at a virtual meeting in parliament.
The department confirmed that COVID-19 will impose significant costs on the economy.
“Departmental priorities and budgets will all need to be reviewed as soon as the scale of the challenges and the costs have been better determined, based on success with flattening the curve and enabling the step-by-step reopening of the economy”.
Currently, the department is considering postponing/deferring a portion of Export, Marketing and Investment Assistance, Support Programme for Industrial Innovation and Technology and Human Resources for Industry Programme budget allocations to the 2021/22 financial year in order to free up resources for the measures announced to mitigate the economic effects of COVID-19.
The department added that additional funding may be required to assist affected sectors in the economy and stimulate investment by easing the cost of doing business while sustaining existing jobs.
“This could take the form of a combination of grant and loan funding towards working capital, machinery and equipment, targeting manufacturing and its related sectors.”
The department confirmed that discussions with national treasury on this matter are underway.
Meanwhile, in a statement on the recently gazetted Directions on the sale of clothing, footwear and bedding during Alert level 4, the department pointed out that the publication of the Directions results from minister Patel’s consultative meeting with industry leaders in the Clothing, Textile, Footwear and Leather sector held on 5 May 2020.
“A task team of industry representatives and the department worked together to construct a list of essential winter clothing, footwear and home textiles that would be permissible for sale in retail stores across the country during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4.”
The minister declared that the “manufacturing and retail sector has been through a very difficult time and the resumption of clothing sales under Level 4 of the new risk-adjusted approach, will assist to provide greater levels of production and commerce in the sector”.