IDC asked to do more for rural job creation

Tuesday, March 29, 2011
By: 
Francis Hweshe

Cape Town - Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Economic Developed has told the Industrial Development Cooperation (IDC) to take rural industrialisation and job creation seriously.

The committee expressed worry that in some provinces, people did not know about the role of the IDC and some of its projects had fallen through the cracks without achieving much.

The self-financing national development institution appeared before the committee on Tuesday to lay out its strategic plan on job creation.

The organization promotes entrepreneurship through the building of competitive industries and enterprises based on sound business principles.

Committee chairperson Elsie Mmatulare Coleman asked IDC chief executive Geoffrey Qhena why all IDC offices were located in towns, instead of the rural areas where they were most needed.

She further wanted to know how the IDC was going to influence job creation in the rural areas and its projections in contributing to the government's targets on employment creation.

Parliamentarians said the organisation should do more to alleviate rural unemployment, especially that facing the youth and women. They challenged the IDC to do more with the monetary resources at its disposal.

Qhena said 110 000 jobs were going to be created as a result of their interventions in the next five years, and that about 50 percent of these would come from mining, metals and agro-processing.

About R4.3 billion had thus far been disbursed to assist 80 companies in distress, with the hope of creating 26 000 jobs, he said.

Qhena conceded that fewer new entrepreneurs were approaching them. He encouraged more to come forward with their ideas, saying they would give them a chance.

Qhena said they had the "appetite to do more" and his organisation remained relevant to assist the government to deliver on its goals.

The IDC recently launched a R10 million scheme available for five years, with loans available at prime less 3 percent for the first five years of the loan.

The minimum loan was R1 million and maximum R1 billion. One of the qualifying requirements was a Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B- BBEE) certification from an accredited verification agency.