Corona-virus creates demand for locally manufactured products

2020-03-05 06:03

THE World Health Organisation has declared the coronavirus outbreak a global emergency.

The mandatory closure of Chinese factories has left a massive gap as the country is the world’s largest manufacturing economy. This resulted in opening up new markets for South African manufacturers.

Eustace Mashimbye, chief executive from Proudly SA, says, “With China’s manufacturing output hamstrung by the corona-virus, South Africa has an opportunity to review what it imports and capacitate local industries to secure the supply chain of local products.

“While we do not in any way celebrate what has befallen China, and like the rest of the world, we join in sending our sympathies and hopes for a speedy end to the infection.

“We also have to recognise that it exposes the vulnerabilities of markets to single-supplier sources and offers opportunities to others to strengthen their own domestic capabilities.”

Albert Louw, Lasher Tools Marketing Manager, said that the company had gained new business as a consequence of the outbreak of corona-virus in China and the closure of manufacturing in the country in an attempt to stem the spread of the deadly virus.

“For the first time, a big local retailer placed a multi-million-rand order with Lasher for products that the company has never bought from us before,” Louw said, adding that the order was a direct result of the curtailed supply of tools from China.

Louw stated that supporting locally manufactured products would translate into greater job security throughout the manufacturing value chain at a time when local economic growth is stagnant and unemployment is near record levels.

He believes that local manufacturers need to stand together and work with the government to maintain and expand the sector, which until recently had faced an increasing onslaught from low-priced imported Chinese goods.

“The South African manufacturing industry has declined from 20% of the gross domestic product in 1994 to 14% today.

“Chinese imports have had a detrimental impact on local manufacturing, jobs and reduced demand for local goods and services.”

(Issued by Stone Soup PR)

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