Strong institutions needed to grow SA economy

Friday, October 12, 2018

South Africa requires credible modernised institutions that are responsive to changing technologies thereby aiding economic growth, says Trade and Industry Director General Lionel October.

“For South Africa to create a world-class economy and strong manufacturing base, we need world-class institutions that are credible, trusted, modernised and corruption-free,” said October.

The Director General of the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) was speaking at the 10th anniversary celebrations of the National Regulator for Compulsory Specification (NRCS) on Thursday.

Speaking at the celebrations held at the Royal Elephant Hotel and Conference Centre in Centurion, October said institutions like the NRCS, which is an entity of the dti, can enable the country to build an inclusive economy that responds to the need of all its people.  

October emphasised that this would require a focused approach and fostering strategic partnerships with industry role players who are compliant and act consistently without fear or favour against those that do not comply.

October commended the NRCS management for having stabilised the organisation and encouraged them to speedily implement the modernisation process which he said was central going into the fourth industrial revolution.

Enforcement of regulations and transformation

“Effective enforcement of technical regulations is now more important for South Africa than ever as the country is pursuing an open economic system. The implementation of unilateral trade measures by some developed nations has placed severe pressures on the work of technical infrastructure institutions,” said October.

The NRCS was established to administer compulsory specifications and other technical regulations with the view to protect human health, safety, the environment and ensure fair trade in accordance with government policies and guidelines.

“Against this background, the transformation imperative requires of the regulator to implement speedy processing of regulatory activities so as to allow new entrants to gain a foothold in the market while at the same time being able to effectively stem the tide of non-compliant products and downright dangerous products that are dumped in the market from abroad,” said October.

With relations to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, October said there was no reason for the institutions not to have world-class technology in managing standards.

Fourth Industrial Revolution

 He further invited the NRCS to work closely with the department to develop measures and take advantage of opportunities brought by the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

In highlighting some of the achievements by the NRCS in the past ten years, Chief Executive Officer Edward Mamadise pointed out that the regulator has performed over 500 000 surveillance inspections.

The regulator has also approved over 3 000 letters of authority for business to trade in the South African market.

“These inspections saved the economy millions of rands as they ensured that no unsafe products were traded during the period under review,” he added.

Despite these achievements, Mamadise also highlighted areas of improvement the regulator needs to focus on in the future such as, finalising the modernisation project, stabilising the organisation and also improve the NRCS’s financial performance.  –