Market access is still a challenge for black industrialists: BIS beneficiaries

black industrialistMinister Rob Davies, director-general Lionel October and deputy director-general Malebo Mabitje Thompson at the Inaugural Black Industrialists Roundtable Dialogue. (Image source: The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa)The beneficiaries of Black Industrialists Scheme (BIS) told the South African government that market access and penetration of established industries were still a challenge for most black industrialists as they seek to expand their products and services locally and internationally

These were some of the request made by them to the government at the Inaugural Black Industrialists Roundtable Dialogue hosted by Dr Rob Davies, the minister of trade and industry, in Pretoria.

The purpose of the dialogue was to facilitate and promote the open discussion between the government and the private sector, including the beneficiaries of BIS, on ways and means to strengthen cooperation and share lessons learned from the first introduction of the scheme.

During the dialogue, they sought the government to address the problem of localisation and sourcing primarily from State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and local retailers, enforcement of local content, additional funding from Development Finance Institutions, rising electricity and fuel costs, limitation of imports and border management, training and skills development, the impact of the fourth industrial revolution and the delay of Value Added Tax refund by the South African Revenue Service.

The minister assured that the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) will call on other government departments from all three spheres of government to prioritise black industrialists in their procurement processes.

He said, “The question of border management and cheap imports of all sorts of products from Lesotho, Swaziland and other neighbouring countries is not easy because we are in the Customs Union with these countries and they have a right to enter our markets. It is not easy to stop their products unless there is something illegal going on. If there is something illegal happening then bring it to our attention to make sure that we address the matter and that there is fair play in the mark­­­et.”

Davies called on banks and retailers to do more to support black industrialists and aspiring entrepreneurs.

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