It is imperative to invest in productivity improvement for the competitiveness of small businesses, the Deputy Director-General of Special Economic Zones and Economic Transformation at Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) Sipho Zikode said on Thursday.
This is a sector that the dti has targeted for broadening economic participation.
Zikode said Workplace Challenge Programme (WPC) was a key programme that the dti was implementing through the Industrial Policy Action Plan amongst South African enterprises in the manufacturing sector to improve their productivity and competitiveness with the aim of ensuring the sustainability of jobs. This would broaden their participation in the economy resulting in their participation in the global economy.
“The programme is a productivity and competitiveness enhancement intervention at Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises in the manufacturing sector, with this programme we want to reduce inefficiencies in production which may adversely affect the growth and development of SMMEs. We want to reduce production costs, enhance quality, reduce wastage, improve safety in the work environment, and create more jobs,” said Zikode.
Zikode was speaking at the 20th anniversary celebration of the WPC. The celebration ceremony was organised by the dti, in partnership with Productivity South Africa under the theme Ensuring Sustainability for South African Enterprises.
The Chief Executive Officer of Productivity South Africa, Mothunye Mothiba described the WPC as a programme that has yielded positive results. He said over 1400 enterprises have participated in the programme since its inception in 1998.
“With this programme, we have seen improved turnovers, improved staff morale, cost of goods going down and companies becoming productive and competitive. Management and workers are now talking with each other on productive issues. We plan to increase the number of companies enrolling in the programme from 100 to more than 200 per annum. Once we have more companies enrolling in the programme, we will see an economy that will generate more income, create more jobs and alleviate poverty,” said Mothiba.
Mothiba added that while companies grow, become productive and competitive everyone must take note that the benefits must be shared amongst the management and employees.
“Working together we should start talking about a living wage rather than minimum wage by 2030, ” said Mothiba. (via African News Agency)