Selibe Phikwe Mayor, Molosiwa Molosiwa has said SPEDU is currently facilitating high impact projects with a potential to create 1865 jobs and P5.36 billion for the region once implemented.
Addressing a full council meeting this week, Molosiwa said government is in the process of operationalizing the incentives approved for the SPEDU region. "Amongst the approved Investment Incentives, only the corporate tax incentive is in operation. To this end, it is also worth noting that government is working closely with SPEDU to fast-track the implementation of the incentive to create the much needed vibrancy in the region," the optimistic Molosiwa said.
According to Molosiwa, currently SPEDU is involved with 58 companies which are at different stages of project development. Amongst these, 22 are at advanced stages of implementation of which 15 are citizen owned companies in Information Technology (IT), manufacturing, agriculture and construction, 3 government projects in infrastructure development and agriculture and 4 foreign-owned companies in agriculture and manufacturing. He added, "These companies have created 1,595 jobs with the total investment value of P370.7 million under the following sectors; agri-business 686 jobs, 651 manufacturing and 258 infrastructure and services."
"On a happier note I would also like to take note of the projects being implemented by SPEDU Company these are construction of Platjaan Bridge and land servicing project in collaboration with the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services," he said. Once completed, Molosiwa said the project is estimated to create 1460 job opportunities. Implementation of the project is in two phases, with the first phase earmarked to run for 15 months entailing servicing of 39 heavy industrial plots for the manufacturing development sector, land measuring approximately 116.2 hectors will be utilised. The Mayor highlighted that Phase II is scheduled for 33 months beginning January 6 2020 and ending June 8 2023 adding that this will cover agribusiness, manufacturing industries and tourism services. The Engineering Consultant is still undertaking site investigation and concept design for Phase II Infrastructure, Molosiwa said.
Molosiwa pointed out that SPEDU continues to engage with the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services to accelerate land applications for investors. He mentioned that high water and electricity tariffs impact negatively to those companies engaged on manufacturing and agribusiness. "The company continues to engage with relevant stakeholders to consider reduction of tariffs from open market tariffs to subsidise. To address this challenge, recommendations have been submitted to the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services for the reduction of raw water tariffs of P7.56 open market tariffs to P1.60 in favour of the Citrus Fruit Project by Water Utilities Corporation," he said.
On a sad note Molosiwa admitted that the continued closure of BCL mine gives them sleepless nights. More than 5 000 jobs directly linked to the mine were lost and subsequent to this, another 5000 or more indirectly related to the existence of the mine lost their jobs too. "We can all bare witness that the town is faced with a major exodus and closure of business outlets which further compounds to the unemployment statistics of our town," he told his fellow councillors.
The Mayor underscored that the business operators had acquired loans to start and upgrade their businesses and in the wake of BCL mine closure, this resulted in business decline, hence inability to service loans as per agreements. "It is our prayer that government considers relieve to such businesses, as this will be in the same spirit of revitalization of the economy of Selebi Phikwe," he concluded.