Cape Town - The government is at last putting its money
where its mouth is on the job front, Cosatu said on Monday.
In a statement welcoming pronouncements by Economic
Development Minister Ebrahim Patel in debate on his budget vote at Parliament,
the Cosatu said it was impressed by his commitment.
"The federation is impressed by the minister's
commitment, and detailed proposals to implement his mandate... to promote
sustainable economic growth and decent employment, in particular the vision of
the new growth path to create five million new jobs by 2020.
"Indeed, it now seems at last that government is
putting its money where its mouth is on the job front."
Cosatu said that among the "very encouraging
items" from Patel's speech was a new mandate for the Industrial
Development Corporation (IDC).
"The minister announced a new focus for the IDC, in
particular that it 'must play a central role to encourage new economic
activities, support new job-creation and promote a greener economy. It must
think ahead of the market, taking a longer-term and more developmental view
than private investors'.
The government had mandated the IDC to review its level and
cost of funding, investment focus, and turn-around time on applications.
Following this review, the IDC would substantially increase
the level of industrial funding and would make available R102bn over the next
five years for investment in new growth path priorities.
"This represents a 160% increase over actual approvals
in the last five years and revised upward from the R66bn in its current
five-year projections. This is a serious commitment," Cosatu said.
It also welcomed a commitment that Patel's department would
announce specific targets and actions for supporting employment creation over
the next 10 weeks, when it tabled its spending plans in Parliament.
Among other things, Cosatu further welcomed Patel's saying
there would be an intensified focus on the so-called green economy; his
outlining of concrete interventions to support small and micro enterprises; and
localisation plans for components to maximise employment creation.
"The federation is highly encouraged by the
tone and thrust of the address, and will continue to engage with government and
business through Nedlac, on how we can work together to assist the minister to
deliver on all these undertakings," it said.