Incentives and other economic interventions have collectively led to the creation of more than a million jobs in the past year, the National Treasury said on Wednesday.
According to the National Treasury, the Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) supports a range of programmes that, in combination with infrastructure investment and structural changes in the real economy, will ultimately raise growth potential.
The employment tax incentive, which came into effect in January 2014 amid concerns of alarming youth unemployment statistics, was starting to yield desirable outcomes.
In December 2014, the employment tax incentive supported the employment of over 216 000 young workers, from a peak of 268 000 in August.
In 2013/14, the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) created over one million jobs of varying duration.
To date, the Jobs Fund has created 30 701 permanent jobs and trained 75 163 work seekers.
Delivering his Budget Speech on Wednesday, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene announced a basket of incentives that will see the Departments of Trade and Industry and Small Business Development dishing out incentives to support various sectors of the economy to grow.
In his speech to the nation, Minister Nene said unemployment remained South Africa’s single greatest economic and social challenge.
“Government continues to prioritise measures aimed at generating employment. These include tax incentives for employment and investment, support for enterprise development, skills development and employment programmes,” he said.
The Minister said R10.2 billion has been allocated over the next three years to manufacturing development incentives and support for growing service industries, such as business process outsourcing.
He said that under Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies’ oversight, the manufacturing competitiveness enhancement programme will spend R5.4 billion and will assist 1 450 companies with financial support to upgrade facilities and skills development.
“Special Economic Zones are allocated R3.5 billion over the medium term, mainly for infrastructure development. The work of Minister [of Tourism, Derek] Hanekom’s department in promoting tourism continues to be supported.
“Over the [next three years], Minister Zulu’s new [Small Business Development] Department will spend R3.5 billion on mentoring and training support to small businesses,” said the Minister.
The Jobs Fund will spend R4 billion in partnership with the private sector on projects that create new employment, support work-seekers and address structural constraints to more inclusive growth.
The community work programme will be extended to all municipalities. It’s allocations have been increased by 21 % a year.
The Department of Environmental Affairs has an allocation of R11.8 billion to fund more than 107 000 full time equivalent jobs and 224 000 work opportunities through environmental EPWP programmes.
A total of R590 million has been allocated to the Green Fund over the medium term for strategic environmental projects in partnership with the private sector.
The National Treasury said, meanwhile, expanding education was key to developing the skills required in the modern economy. Over the past three years 92 new schools have been built as part of the accelerated school infrastructure development initiative and two new universities opened their doors last year. – SAnews.gov.za
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