EASTERN Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle was in Nelson Mandela Bay with members of his Executive Committee on Friday for a Pre-State of the Province Address (SOPA) engagement with the business sector.The gathering, involving the Sarah Baartman District Municipality and attended by members of both emerging and big business from both municipalities, the Director General (DG), Head of Departments (HODs) , Municipal Managers and Councillors, was aimed at reflecting on the road travelled by the provincial government.It was also to gauge the extent to which the business sector understands government’s service delivery priorities, the Premier said.He added that bringing change was important, but government couldn’t do it alone.“We’re also focusing, with these important stakeholders, the business sector, on how to sharpen our plans past the Midterm Expenditure Framework for better governance ahead of the 2017 Budget,” he said.The main purpose of these initiatives was to reduce the effects of the biggest problems facing the province, namely unemployment, poverty and inequality.Government and business relationship was key, Masualle said. According to the Premier, government had plans, but those could not be pursued in isolation from business initiatives to enhance economic activity that would benefit among others, the poor.Among things government wanted to see happening was the 50% procurement of business by local suppliers and ensuring that they were paid within 30 days for the work done. This will enhance local economic development, he said.MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Sakhumzi Somyo, spoke about government’s commitment to ensure growth and stability in business.Somyo said government was subsidising the auto sector which brought economic spin-offs for the Nelson Mandela Bay communities.“We get about 50% of goods like Learner Support Material and Hospital consumable goods and materials like linen from local businesses. All we want is that businesses must be registered for procurement,” said Somyo, adding that the Mandela Metro had 21 % of registered businesses while Sarah Baartman had 5.4%.Nelson Mandela Bay metro and Sarah Baartman District Municipalities each had an opportunity to put forward their economic development plans and the challenges they face while members of the SMMEs sector called on government to do more to help them grow. Giving a hint on the State of Finances in the province, Masualle said the total revenue generated by municipalities up to June 30, 2016, was R38.3 billion or 93.8% of the total adjusted budget of R40.6 billion.The total expenditure up to June 30 was R30.7 billion or 84.3% of the total adjusted budget of R36.4 billion.