MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism Mlungisi Movko says COVID-19 regulations, while necessary to protect lives, brought the regulations brought the economy to a halt.
“We are, however, delighted to report that during 2020/21, the following key achievements can be noted,” he says.
These achievements included:
- The two SEZs realised 12 investors.
- 3,584 people were trained in various areas which contributed to skills for the economy
- Gambling revenue amounted to R102.1 million.
- On the jobs front, the work of the Department saw at least 14,672 jobs being created.
- The ECPTA collected revenue of R279.188 million.
- Six consumer education programmes were implemented.
- A total of 69 environmental compliance inspections were conducted.
- An average of 79% of EIA applications were finalised within legislated timeframes.
- 252 permits were issued within legislated timeframes in line with the NEMA Act.
- 95,535 ha were added to the conservation estate.
Further highlights can be viewed in the annual report of 2020/21.
Mvoko says that it must be noted that all these achievements were realised under constrained fiscus and a stagnant economy.
“The Department is in the process of recalibrating its performance and has developed a new strategy with an emphasis on impacts and outcomes.
“The unpredictable environment presented by the COVID19 pandemic will require further refinement of our strategic focus. This will require, amongst others, sharpened collaborations, smarter working tools and enhanced cross-sector cooperation, local and national integration of programmes” he says.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were harsh on the production and demand sides of the economy. The decline in GDP growth was largely due to the marked slowdown in economic activity coupled with widespread disruptions in both international and domestic supply chains.
“As alluded to, the pandemic has affected all sectors of our economy in the Eastern Cape, and this calls for economic policy reforms to ignite our economy.
“This would in turn help to reduce unemployment, inequality and poverty, as well as raise more income for the government through taxes and administration fees,” he ends.
The focus must be on those sectors that have high absorption rates to increase employment. These sectors are the wholesale and retail, catering and accommodation sector, manufacturing sector and investment.
To download your copy of the annual report, go to https://bit.ly/3kUfd5F