IDC created 19,000 jobs: Patel

By Drum Digital
09 September 2013

The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has created about 19,000 new jobs and saved about 4000 jobs in the past year, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said on Monday.

"The IDC is an important national asset... and has a unique mandate to industrialise South Africa," Patel said at the release of the IDC's financial performance report in Johannesburg.

"Under difficult market conditions the corporation has remained profitable and maintained an approval rate of R13 billion."

He said the IDC had grasped the importance of job creation.

The minister welcomed the IDC's results, pointing out that it had almost doubled its achievements over four years.

Since 2009, when the current administration came into office, the IDC's total assets had risen from R89bn to R127bn. This was a 43 percent growth, Patel said.

The IDC had also invested R45bn in projects in the past four years in the form of equity or loans.

"This... is a very significant injection of investment funds into the economy, expanding the country's industrial base and creating jobs," he said.

It had made a profit of R10bn in the past four years.

Patel highlighted some of the IDC's successes.

There were seven areas: industrialisation; infrastructure development; greening the economy; job creation; small business development empowerment; innovations in financing arrangements, and African regional development.

Manufacturing remained critical to industrialisation. It created direct jobs and sustained a large number of indirect jobs.

The IDC had deepened its presence in the core manufacturing sector.

Investment was not only needed in heavy manufacturing, but also in light manufacturing.

Patel said funding was at the IDC's core.

"If we are to maintain high and growing rate approvals... the IDC has to increase its risk appetite," he said.

The IDC was playing a key role in the national infrastructure roll out.

Infrastructure development was the heart of economic development, Patel said.

A corridor was being built between the Northern Cape and Saldanha which would enable South Africa to unlock opportunities in the gas and oil sector on the west coast.

In the green industry, the IDC had invested R2.5bn in infrastructure programmes in green components.

"The IDC focused on ways of greening the economy in investments in green energy," he said.

This included investment in solar and wind energy.

Beside investing in South Africa, the IDC had also invested R4.4bn since 2009 in projects in the rest of Africa.

"What these investments had in common was the focus particularly in infrastructure... and agro-processing as a means of expanding African industrialisation."

Patel said one of government's goals was to reduce red tape and delays in how public enterprises interacted with customers.

"Two years ago we asked the IDC to reduce its turn-around times for the consideration of applications for funding. I am pleased that the IDC has made excellent progress in this area."

Turn-around times for non-complex transactions had improved by 37 percent in 2013.

While the IDC had done well there were some problems he had told the board to look at, Patel said.

In future, the IDC would have to focus on youth entrepreneurs.

"It is critical to the long-term industrial goal to bring young talent into industrialisation."

Patel said R2.7bn was available for the next five years for special youth focus funding.

The IDC also had to invest more to develop its project pipeline so there were more investment-ready projects available in future. This required a partnership with the private sector, domestic and foreign investors.

-Sapa

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