The Department of Economic Development, Environment, Conservation and Tourism MEC, Kenetswe Mosenogi mentioned during her budget vote speech that economic activities for the entire year decreased by 7, 0% in 2020 as compared to 2019.
 
She said that, the positive growth recorded in the third and fourth quarters was not enough to compensate for the devastating impact of Covid-19 in the second quarter when lockdown restrictions were at their most stringent. “Our province has registered an overwhelming increase of 28, 3% on the unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2020 to 21, 6% in the second quarter”.
 
Mosenogi said this when tabling the 2021/22 departmental budget vote presented at the Provincial Legislature in Mahikeng last week. She highlighted that R 96.864 million have been set aside to roll out the new developments and strategies on economic reconstruction and recovery in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. 
 
In response to the hard lockdown on small businesses, the department has provided temporary relief to SMME’s and informal traders to ease the impact of the economic slowdown as a result of the pandemic. Mosenogi highlighted that the department has received 6362 applications out of which 3876 met the criteria and benefitted from the North West Relief Fund.
“We are fully aware that this department carries the hopes of many, who are looking for opportunities for employment, trade and investment. As such we are pulling all strings to lead the province in the transformation of our provincial economy by steering skills development, job creation, SMMEs and Cooperatives development, infrastructure development and to promote localization”, said the MEC.
 
With regard to the Incubation Programme for start-up enterprises, the department entered into a partnership with Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) to promote the establishment and support of business incubators in the province.  Under this agreement, the department and SEDA co-funded the establishment of Mahikeng Innovation Digital Hub (MDIHub) and Leema Township Hub in Mogwase. This is an innovative co-working techno hub that is dedicated to the manufacturing of electronic components, cell phones and tablets.
Mosenogi further added that the department has spent R2.7 million on the procurement of equipment for fifteen (15) enterprises in the province through Empowerment Fund, which is an intervention aimed at supporting qualifying enterprises with machinery and types of equipment to reduce costs of doing business.  In addition, sixty-five (65) informal businesses have received production machinery and equipment through Informal Business Support Programme in Moses Kotane and Rustenburg Local Municipalities.
Moreover, the department has successfully places three (3) companies on Business Turnaround and Recovery Programme in partnership with Productivity SA. The programme which is implemented at a cost of R1.5 million, aims to support enterprises facing economic distress, specifically financial and operational difficulties, to prevent job losses or minimise retrenchment of workers.
The programme will further offer support in all sectors that need assistance on productivity and competitiveness enhancement; however key priority sectors will include mining, tourism, ICT, manufacturing, village and township economy, public sector and agriculture (Agro-processing and Agro business).
MEC Mosenogi commended the work done by the previous administrations in completing the Integrated Provincial Economic Growth Strategy of the province which is underpinned by the need to strategically recover and grow the economy of the province in order to create jobs.
In response to the plans for job creation, the province through the Department of Economic Development will be hosting the Jobs Summit with organized labour movement and industries in the last week of September 2021. The summit is aimed at addressing slow economic growth due to high unemployment rate, and a further look at the enablers such as quality economic infrastructure to support the advancement of a growing economy that is inclusive, diversified and competitive. 
The summit will also afford the province a platform to follow up on the commitments affecting the province which was made at platforms such as National Jobs Summit, National Investment Conference, Provincial Investment Conference; and the most recent engagement of the Premier with Captains of the Industries.
MEC Mosenogi further announced several programmes that will be implemented as part of the district development model with the view of streamlining service delivery in 2021/22 financial year.