Compliments of the season, I hope that 2015 will be a good year for all of us.
Starting the New Year with good intentions and hope for the future is noble but we need a healthy dose of reality. Our economy has not been performing well and although our growth rate is expected to improve it will remain below 3% (never mind the 5% we all hope for). As if this is not enough our labour and electricity rates will increase, new regulations and red tape are the order of the day – the only small windfall being the drop in oil price. So we have to hit the ground running, and look for every opportunity to be the competitive and excellent industry we strive to be. We need to pick ourselves up when we have disappointments and continue to work hard to keep our industry going and build it into a thriving business we know it can be.
Many of us expected the National Development Plan to be up and running by now. I still believe that Southern Africa needs a substantial investment in infrastructure which bodes well for the steel industry, but economic and sometimes political realities will continue to delay implementation.
Our efforts on the promotion of local fabricated structural steel continue in earnest, designation and enforcement of duties on fabricated structural steel have to date yielded limited success but we will try harder this year. I believe that if we work together as an industry and all sing from the same hymn sheet we can generate sufficient energy to encourage the positive change and mind shifts we require.
It seems impossible to me that most of our large state-owned enterprises and listed SA companies seem to be working against local companies by deliberately supporting other manufacturing countries. This cannot be correct if we are to build the South Africa we all strive for. I would encourage them to work with us to ensure we find competitive solutions in the local market.
What makes me confident that we can deliver and compete with the rest of the world?
- We are a can-do industry.
- We have a proven track record of delivering world class quality projects.
- Our members have world-class facilities and have adopted the most modern technologies available today.
For our members, help us to continue helping you. Send your young staff members on training courses; get involved and give us your feedback. It is only through a concerted effort on skills development and innovation that we can become the world leaders that we know we can be.