NELSON Mandela Bay Municipality has a five-year plan geared towards economic growth and development critical for the success of the metro and the region.
This according to Member of Mayoral Council (MMC), Andrew Whitfield, who was speaking at the Summerstrand Hotel last Friday.
Whitfield, who is the political head for Economic Development, Tourism and Agriculture, was speaking on behalf of Executive Mayor Athol Trollip during the Pre-State of the Province Address (SOPA) Business Sector Engagement by Premier Phumulo Masualle and Members of his Executive Committee ahead of the provincial budget for this financial year.
The premier wanted to inform and get input from the business sector on the government’s plans for better partnerships, growth and development.
Whitfield said the metro also had a major role to play in encouraging investment and economic development which is important to address the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
Witfield made a passionate plea for local communities, including businesses, to put their energies to good use by promoting economic growth and development through partnerships and inter-governmental relations.
“A turnaround strategy is already operational in many of our interventions during the first five months in office,” said Witfield, adding that they had given much attention to areas where infrastructure and service delivery had been in decline.
In the next five years, he said, the metro’s economy would be geared towards investment and creating job opportunities in sectors that have the potential to transform the economy and reconfigure the city as a global player which is “open for business”.
Witfield named the automotive sector as the prime example of what was possible in Mandela Bay and made mention of the Chinese investment through FAW and Beijing Automotive International Corp (BAIC) as giving the metro the status of a major role-player in the car manufacturing industry.
He mentioned tourism, agro-processing and township economy as other areas of concentration.
“We have to improve the quality of life of our own citizens through long-term sustainable growth. And our IDP is geared to accelerate economic growth, job creation and the empowerment of marginalised communities,” Whitfield said, adding that key for this to happen, was for stakeholders to add value.