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EEC to foster enabling business environment

The eThekwini Economic Council (EEC) convened its second council meeting virtually on 18 February, where the business of the day was discussing innovative measures to improve the City’s economy.

The EEC was established as a social compact in September last year to revive the economy and drive programmes and plans that promote the economy, to attract investors and create jobs. The council is divided into 16 sector-specific workstreams that comprise of a chair, co-chairs and a range of stakeholders’ representative of the sector, including businesses, labour and government.

Chairing the meeting, eThekwini Mayor Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda, expressed the urgent need for innovative measures that will be both impactful and tangible to revive the economy while addressing the high levels of unemployment as a result of Covid-19.  The hardest-hit industries include manufacturing, trade, construction and travel and tourism.

“The economic projections for the City are expected to lose approximately R3.59 billion in Gross Domestic Product as a result of the pandemic. We have a mammoth task of continuing to assist sectors and keep them afloat as they play a central role in the economy of the City and job creation,” said Mayor Kaunda.

He added: “These sectors are also critical in turning the tide against unemployment which is currently sitting at 14 percent in the Municipality. Our major concern with regards to unemployment is that 58 percent of eThekwini’s working age population is without a job.”

Head of the Economic Development Unit, Shunnon Tulsiram presented the council with an overview of activities, the recommended Terms of Reference and related matters pertaining to the workstreams.
This was followed by eight workstream feedback reports presented by the respective chair. 

These included Infrastructure Development, Manufacturing, Investment Attraction, Food and Agribusiness, Oceans Economy, Logistics, Tourism Development and the Green Economy workstreams.
The reports included observations, challenges and recommendations on policies, strategies and optimal practices for the City to create an enabling business environment, as well as advance and promote economic development initiatives. These recommendations will feed into war rooms, Troika and the eThekwini Management Committee.

Details on each workstream report will be covered in the coming weeks. Mayor Kaunda closed the meeting by commending the comprehensive work of the workstreams and urged the council to continue to develop the workstream plans in alignment with the priorities emphasised during the State of the Nation Address which are mainly infrastructure investment, local production to reduce reliance on imports, job creation and expansion of energy generation capacity to help boost economy recovery.

For more information go to www.Durban.gov.za/EEC

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