Free State plans R400m industrial development area

Posted On Thursday, 22 July 2004 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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The Free State government has drawn up an ambitious plan to build a R400m industrial development zone in an effort to boost the province's ailing export industry.

Infrastructure IndustryThe Free State government has drawn up an ambitious plan to build a R400m industrial development zone in an effort to boost the province's ailing export industry.

The development of the zone , which will include a cargo airport, is expected to increase the volume of export goods and products in the province and at the same time create much-needed jobs.

Free State has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. According to Statistics SA, the province is the second-poorest in the country, after Eastern Cape.

The agricultural sector, which is the primary contributor to the province's economy, has also shed many jobs.

Premier Beatrice Marshoff said yesterday a detailed plan had been submitted, and the province was waiting for approval from the trade and industry department.

The establishment of the development zone is expected to be financed by the provincial government and private companies.

"We have been working on it for the past 18 months," said Marshoff. "We hope it will get the nod from the department because there is a concern that the market must not be saturated with (development zones)."

The building of export containers in the zone would be prioritised, and Marshoff said she was confident the establishment of the zone would enable the province to increase its much sought after beef and fruit exports.

According to Marshoff, the need for the cargo airport is urgent after Free State entered into a twinning agreement with Bangkok.

"They are interested in our beef and fruits, that they are not able to grow and cultivate there," she said.

Marshoff said that the government of Thailand would provide technical assistance to develop Free State's agroprocessing industry.

"They have there what they call the King's Project, where they do agroprocessing, including the development of genetically modified foods," she said.

"The universities and research institutions are working voluntarily on the projects, meaning it does not cost the state anything. They want to come and assist us to implement the same thing," she said.

Meanwhile, Marshoff said the provincial government expected all of its departments to ensure that they allocated 30% of their expanded public works programme tenders to black economic empowerment companies.

The government expected that 10000 new jobs would be created when the public works programme was implemented.

She said the same requirement would also apply to the procurement of the R325m municipal infrastructure grant.

The premier stressed that empowerment companies awarded tenders to improve the province's infrastructure would also be expected to empower the communities in which they operated.

"We will make it clear that our communities must benefit. This must not be limited to a few individuals," she said.



Last modified on Tuesday, 05 November 2013 08:58

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