CLOTHING: State Support Could Be Vital
Recent Western Cape Business News
THE new directive to government and municipal departments to “buy local” when ordering uniforms and protective clothing was a welcome development and could provide vital support for the ailing clothing and textile industry, says the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“There will be a few practical problems, but it is the right move and a good example of how the purchasing power of the State can be harnessed to help the economy and preserve jobs,” said Michael Bagraim, President of the Chamber.
The main problem was that the textile industry had been decimated in recent years and in many manufacturers would have no option but to use some imported fabric and trim.
This meant that exemption certificates would have to be obtained from the Department of Trade and Industry as 100 percent local content was required.
“The fear is that it will take longer to get the certificate authorising the use of imported fabric or trim than the time allowed for the tender to be submitted. If the DTI does not have the capacity to deal with requests promptly, firms which could make the uniforms would be precluded.”
A second problem was the requirement for auditor’s certificates confirming local content. Many manufacturers used subcontractors and they would not know whether the subcontractor complied with the local contentment requirement.
“The third concern is cost,” said Bagraim. “Local fabric costs significantly more than imported cloth and so locally produced goods will be more expensive. In addition, there will be less competition for tenders and that also means higher prices.”
Despite this he was confident that the problems could be ironed out in discussions with the industry and the Chamber would be assisting its members and the DTI to resolve these issues.
“The idea is right and if the rules can be adapted to deal with the practical difficulties on the ground we are sure great things can be achieved. One of our members who is anxious to take advantage of the opportunities opened up has already dubbed it the ‘Love me Tender’ plan,” Bagraim said.
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