KZN summit will seek ways to counter slump

2009-06-19 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal government will convene a “job and economic recovery summit” in just under two months to come up with strategies to prevent the economy from plun­ging into a deeper slump.

Speaking during his State of the Province address in the KZN Legislature yesterday, Premier Zweli Mkhize said the global econo­mic recession has adversely affec­ted the economy of the province, resulting in job losses in many sectors.

He said the KZN regional economy is in recession following a contraction by -6,7% in the first quarter of 2009, from -2,9% in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Mkhize said that sectors that recorded growth during the first quarter were construction, at six percent, and government services at four percent.

He said the province has been the hardest hit by the economic meltdown in South Africa, with 117 000 jobs lost in the first quarter.

The summit will involve major players from the automotive industry, clothing, textile, manufacturing, construction and other sectors that have been badly affected.

“The summit must be held before the end of August to devise a road map towards economic recovery.

“A major area of focus will be saving jobs.  The government is pursuing other strategies to support affected industries and will discuss details in the summit,” said Mkhize.

He said the process must also result in the formation of an advisory body, which would be a provincial version of the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).

The premier said KZN needs to devise strategies to stimulate the first economy to increase investments and create more jobs.

The intention, said Mkhize, is to seek to integrate the second economy to help the small business sector, especially the informal sector, to survive, as this is the sector that has borne the brunt of the recession.

He said the construction industry will continue to create more jobs in the short and medium turn.

Tourism has been recognised as having the potential to create thousands of jobs, the premier said.

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