SONA 2017: President of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber Ian Nicholls shares the Business Chamber’s expectations for today’s State of the Nation Address
THE Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber is steadfast in its expectations of today’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Foremost of which would be facilitating a stable political and economic environment which is conducive to promoting an enabling business environment, said Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber President Ian Nicholls.
“Organised business in Nelson Mandela Bay wants government’s clear commitment to building an investor friendly environment through the implementation of sound economic policies which are focused on growth, and prioritising service delivery to the business community,” Nicholls said.
The main concerns we want addressed in SONA 2017 include:
• A far greater sense of urgency must be applied into moving the tank farm and manganese ore facilities from the Port of Port Elizabeth to Coega, thus unlocking the full tourism potential of the Nelson Mandela Bay waterfront.
• The ongoing drought remains a major concern in Nelson Mandela Bay. In addition to the need for the acceleration of the completion of the Nooitgedacht pipeline to secure the city’s water supply, water preservation and infrastructure development and maintenance needs to be prioritised.
• Quality, security of supply and cost of electricity remain issues which need to be addressed in 2017.
• The prioritisation of roads for maintenance, upgrades and development is of critical importance to unlocking the economic potential for businesses operating in the Metro.
• The underlying issues behind the University crisis (#feesmustfall) have not gone away and urgently needs to be addressed. We are very concerned about the mounting debt issues which universities are facing and the impact this has on the quality of education.
• Unemployment remains a massive issue in South Africa, in particular in the Eastern Cape. This highlights the need for a greater focus to be placed on education, skills development, and facilitating conditions which will encourage the growth of small businesses.
• Finally we also call for transparent and open business dealings and opportunities within the country’s energy masterplan – particularly in the areas of nuclear and renewable energy, as well as a more a co-ordinated and practical implementation of Operation Phakisa in the Eastern Cape.