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State, business in pact to buy local

Oct 31 2011 16:09 Sapa

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Johannesburg - Government, business, labour and community bodies committed themselves on Monday to increasing the number of goods and services bought locally to 75%.

They did so by signing a local procurement accord in Pretoria.

Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said the pact sought to boost local industry and create more jobs.

"The accord brings together the efforts of the public and private sectors and will direct billions of rands to local manufacturers," he said.

Government departments in the accord discussions included finance, trade and industry, labour, energy, public enterprises, and rural development.

Government undertook to use new regulations - coming into effect on December 7 - to ensure that it only buys certain goods and services if they are produced locally.

These included buses, power pylons, railway rolling stock, pharmaceuticals, set-top boxes for televisions, clothing and certain food products, as well as office and school furniture.

Business - represented by the country's 84 largest companies and some smaller ones - said it would use the newly-created SA Supplier Diversity Council to support smaller local manufacturers of goods and producers of agricultural products and services.

The firms would also support setting conditions for companies benefiting from state contracts.

These would be aimed at improving localisation of supply chains and in skills development and new technology, as well as efforts to improve overall competitiveness.

Organised labour - represented by Cosatu, the Federation of Unions of SA and the National Council of Trade Unions - said it would work with unions and worker retirement funds in support of buying locally.

This would be through more investment in companies that benefit from the state's local procurement policies.

Community bodies, including people from women, youth and civic formations and cooperatives, agreed to increase awareness of the buy locally campaign.

They would seek to strengthen cooperation with small-scale farmers, creative enterprises, and home industries.

The parties said they would seek to ensure that all their stationery, office furniture and promotional items were produced locally.

A committee would be set up to meet every six months and review progress on the impact the accord had made.
ebrahim patel  |  services
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