BY PORTIA NKANI
SELEBI PHIKWE – At a time when the government flagship programme ÔÇô Ipelegeng seems to be “pilfering” the shine when it comes to availing jobs to the job hunting populace, SPEDU ÔÇô a government agency says it has also set a target to add to the numbers.
SPEDU or Selibe Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit is a regional agency set up by the government a few years ago in a bid to bolster Selebi Phikwe’s attractiveness as an investment capital.
To date, atleast 54 companies have set up in the region with about 22 projects undertaken at different levels. SPEDU officials said during a recent tour that amongst the companies that set up is 15 citizens owned companies in the Information Technology, manufacturing, Agriculture and Construction sectors. At the same time, there are three government projects in infrastructure development and agriculture as well as four foreign owned companies in agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
In total, SPEDU says the companies are expected to invest approximately P2.293 billion of which about P57.6million will be financed through government owned agencies – CEDA and BDC.
The agency says it has set an employment creation target at 1560 jobs in a period of 12 months, 2360 jobs in the next 24 months and 6856 jobs in the next 36 months. To date 1371 jobs have been created.
UNLOCKING INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES
As part of Government’s strategy to unlock investments opportunities in the region, a package of incentives to address industry bottlenecks and competitiveness challenges were approved in 2018.
The incentives entails a five percent corporate tax for the first five years, zero percent customs duty on imported raw materials, 50 years minim um land leases, preferential ICT rates and streamlines process for issuing work and residence permits.
The instrument has been finalised and implementation is ongoing.
However, the implementation of these incentives is a slow process and a challenge which delays the take-off of several companies.
SPEDU Chief Executive – Dr Mokubung Mokubung says lack of serviced industrial and commercial is one of the major impediments for the diversification unit’s strategy. He however says the government has started initiating land servicing, so that factories could be built by other willing organisations, even to specifications of businesses.
“Shortening the Environmental Impact Assessment process is also receiving g attention as we continue to en gage with the relevant ministry”, Mokubung says.