Clothing, textiles can contribute to job creation

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Pretoria – The Clothing and Textiles Competitiveness Programme (CTCP) has breathed life into sectors where new decent jobs are being created, thereby stopping the decline in these sectors, says Department of Trade and Industry (dti) Director General Lionel October.

Speaking at the official opening of a four-day Source Africa 2013 event, which is being held in Cape Town, October said that South Africa has been able to stop the decline of the clothing, textiles, leather and footwear sectors by implementing strategies which made the sectors globally competitive.

“Local retailers are increasing procurement from local manufacturers and there is confidence starting to be shown by the new investment in the sectors. CTCP stopped the employment decline in these sectors and more than 12 000 new permanent jobs have been created.

“Local retailers have committed to local procurement in support of manufacturing companies. Over 400 companies were assisted under the CTCP, with R1.5 billion worth of applications approved,” said October on Wednesday.

The programme, which was launched in 2010, is aimed at improving the global competitiveness of the sector through a range of structured interventions covering all aspects of business operations, from very specific technical skills through to generic business skills.

Other Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) countries have embraced the programme’s concept, said October, adding that Swaziland was in the process of implementing the programme.

“Some Less Developed Countries (LDCs) have taken full advantage of International Trade Agreements like Agoa [African Growth and Opportunity Act] to build on their industries.

“Through these interventions, countries like Lesotho have seen their textiles and clothing sectors growing to the extent that they are now one of the biggest manufacturers on the continent both in fabric and garments,” he added.

Agoa offers incentives for African countries to continue their efforts to open their economies and build free markets. It aims to expand US trade and investment with Sub-Saharan Africa; stimulate economic growth; and promote a high-level dialogue on trade and investment-related issues, among others.

Under the Act, Agoa countries are eligible to ship goods to the US without having to pay import duties.

October also highlighted that intra-trade amongst African countries was also important as the industry had growth potential.

“These sectors are labour intensive and have the potential to create large employment, especially in the garment manufacturing sector where the investment is low but the job creation is enormous.”

The event is supported by the USAID Southern Africa Trade Hub and is designed to highlight what Africa has to offer in textiles and apparel, giving the world a first-hand look at the quality, workmanship and sophistication available in the region. – SAnews.gov.za

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