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Social Economy Policy Under Development

October 31, 2019

Department of Trade and Industry

31 October 2019

Government plans to finalise the Social Economy Policy by the end of 2020.

The deputy minister of trade and industry, Ms Nomalungelo Gina, confirmed this during a public consultation session on the Social Economy Green Paper in George.

The Social Economy includes myriad not-for-profit institutions that provide goods and services, including co-operatives, non-governmental organisations and stokvels.

The Green Paper was released for comment at the beginning of 2019.

“The Green Paper outlines government’s vision on developing social and community enterprises, co-operatives, and non-profit organisations, creating an ecosystem that encourages the earning of income whilst focusing on economic and social goals.”

According to the deputy minister, the Social Economy is “vital to building a more people-centered economy. It is critical to broadening economic ownership, creating jobs, and enhancing social and economic resilience”.

The department indicated that the White Paper will be followed by an execution plan which could call for the development of legislation, regulations and support mechanisms.

Meanwhile, the portfolio committee on trade and industry has approved the SACUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

SACUM-UK consists of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Member States, Mozambique and the United Kingdom (UK).

The EPA was negotiated to roll-over the current EPA involving the EU to ensure that trade with the UK continues once Brexit takes effect.

According to the trade and industry minister, Ebrahim Patel, the SACUM- UK EPA will “replace the current legal framework for trade under the EU SADC EPA if the UK leaves the EU on 31 January 2020 or on a later date if the UK and EU agree to an extension or if the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and EU comes into force”.

He added that the EPA includes additional market access for 13 agricultural products, including wine and sugar, in the form of new volumes in relation to the Tariff Rate Quotas contained in the EPA with the European Union.

In a statement, the portfolio committee on trade and industry indicated that the committee unanimously supported the approval of the agreement for ratification.

The committee chairperson, Duma Nkosi, declared that the EPA “will provide the peace of mind
and a regulatory secure environment to operate in for all concerned”.

The national assembly must now ratify the EPA.