A clear and radical strategic intervention plan is needed to grow the economy
Premier Supra Mahumapelo has called for the compilation of a radical Provincial Development Plan with a clear strategic Intervention plan which will speedily address challenges that the province is facing to grow the economy and decrease poverty, inequality and unemployment.
Premier Mahumapelo was addressing the Provincial Development Plan - PDP Colloquium at Cookes Lake Mahikeng earlier today, which was hosted by the North West Provincial Planning Commission. The Colloquium is intended to receive inputs from top structures of all the stakeholders, into the already existing Provincial Development Plan with a view to improving its quality.
During the Colloquium the Provincial Departments, Municipalities, State Owned Entities, the Private Sector and other major stakeholders contributed to the document which is to provide the direction for the rebranding, repositioning and renewal of the province and economic growth.
Premier Mahumapelo believes there's a need for a plan that will attract long term investments in the province without threats.
"We must ensure that Agriculture thrives to become the economic driver of the province. Due to the possibility of minerals depletion and the possibility of the decrease in the commodity price, investment in the mining sector has its own threats and this is not the cause with Agriculture because the consumption of food is necessary on a daily basis. That is why we must make mining a strategic tributary to strengthen the Agriculture, Culture and Tourism sectors, grow the economy and attract investors" remarked Premier Mahumapelo.
The Spatial Economist Roelof Middlejans from HIS Markit made a presentation which reflected a worrying picture of unemployment and poverty rate in the province which necessitates a special focus to turn the situation around.
"The decline in unemployment and poverty is not happening as envisaged by the NDP. We need a developmental process that will address this. Our mining sector must be competitive and must flourish. If there's more competitiveness the economy will grow. However currently it is very difficult to keep investors and that is the choking point of the economic growth in the province." said Middlejans who also applauded the province for a continued good performance in matric results and improvement in provision of basic services.
In order to deal with the unemployment rate in the province Premier Mahumapelo believes sweeping interventions are necessary.
"We must know which skills unemployed youth possess and develop a plan on how best we can deploy such skills to the economy for the market. This PDP must have the paradigm shifting actions that we must embark on. We must use the same money that we have to change the situation. If possible we must cut unnecessary expenditure in government" remarked Mahumapelo.
Professor Tebogo Mokgoro of Ikatisong School of Governance highlighted the need for the relevant skills in the province. "We need to ask ourselves what are the skills needs of our economy. We need to identify the skills demand and have skills development plan. We also need to have institutions where these skills will be developed and deployed to influence our economy. Our PDP must indicate those" said Professor Mokgoro.
This was emphasised by Premier Mahumapelo who said the province must identify and develop skills necessary for the VTSD economy.
"Graduation ceremonies are taking place all the time but they are contributing to the unemployment. This is because we are producing skills that are not relevant to the economy. We must develop human capital with practical skills which are required by the economy. This is will strengthen the agricultural sector especially in our VTSD areas" added Mahumapelo.
Jan Pienaar of Agri North West has emphasized the importance of ensuring the relevant implementation plan to the already available Agriculture Master Plan. "As we make the PDP, we also need to draft an implementation plan that will assist in the implementation of the Agricultural Master Plan and elevate the Agricultural Sector to a level where it should be. We have the necessary skills and we need to work together" said Pienaar.
All inputs made will be added to the draft to come up with a comprehensive Provincial Development Plan which will be North West version of the National Development Plan.
Issued by: North West Office of the Premier