Posted: January 31, 2020
Furniture Industry Master Plan to Help Tackle Low Uptake of Government Incentive Schemes
|The Director of Resource Based Industries at the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Ms Tafadzwa Nyanzunda says she hopes that the Furniture Industry Master Plan will help tackle the challenges encountered through the low uptake of government incentive schemes. She explained that this was chief among challenges that led to the decimation in the South African furniture manufacturing industry, together with the influx of cheap imports. Nyanzunda was speaking at the KwaZulu-Natal leg of the Furniture Industry Masterplan workshops, which took place in Durban.
“Another challenge we have observed as government is that of transformation and one solution that we would want to advocate and see coming out of the Masterplan is to urge the industry to transform. The uptake has been low from the furniture sector. We would want through the Master Plan to have more uptake and hence what we have decided actually is that we are going to come up with more information sessions with the South African Furniture Initiative (SAFI) just to engage with the industry on interventions that government is doing,” she said.
Nyanzunda mentioned that there was a myriad of incentives that companies can tap into in order to stay afloat and stem the tide of the closure of companies that continues unabated.
“We have incentives like agro-processing where government is paying between 20-30 percent grant on capital investment. On industries, those challenges the industry is facing in terms of cheap imports and the closure of companies and expensive raw materials those are angles we need to look at especially board raw material. We have two major suppliers of board raw material left, and the one supplier was liquidated last year. Their pricing is often high and we end up with companies opting to import materials and that has a detrimental effect to the industry. We need to engage with suppliers and see what it is that needs to be put in place to make their board more competitive priced,” said Nyanzunda.
The Regional Secretary of the National Union of Furniture and Allied Workers of South African in KwaZulu-Natal, Mr Jonathan van Rooyen pronounced support for the formulation of the Furniture Industry Master Plan.
“The challenges that we face on a daily basis is that we need the upskilling of our members because this is the biggest challenge of the industry. Secondly we do not have protection against cheap imports and must work on an anti-dumping strategy with regards to the industry. We need to guard against the closure of companies as it is shrinking the industry and also believe that all the employers within the KwaZulu-Natal region must work together as the current state of play is that of people working in isolation,” he said.