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Coega Commentary on the Eastern Cape 2021 Budget Speech - published 10 Mar 2021

Coega Commentary on the Eastern Cape 2021 Budget Speech

 

Gqeberha, 10 March 2021 – “We are strengthening our infrastructure planning, packaging, and implementation capacity, through Coega Development Corporation (CDC) as the project packager so as to improve the level of participation in the alternative funding instruments,” says Mlungisi Mvoko, MEC for Finance and Economic Development in the Eastern Cape.

 

“The CDC is delighted with the vote of confidence by provincial government in the organisation’s ability and capacity to assist with key projects of the province,” says Dr Ayanda Vilakazi, CDC unit head marketing & communications.

 

“The organisation is largely relying on its past successes in project packaging, managing of complex projects and the acceleration of much needed infrastructure through various government funding initiatives, such as the Budget Finance for Infrastructure (BFI) & Provincial Stimulus Fund.”  

“We certainly are leveraging our extensive experience with over 21 years in infrastructure project management to the benefit of the Eastern Cape (EC) and the country,” adds Dr Vilakazi.

 

In delivering the Eastern Cape’s Budget Speech, which took place at the EC Provincial Legislature, the MEC highlighted key budget principles by the province - (1) Investment on projects that will grow the economy; (2) Improve fiscal discipline and governance; (3) Protect and grow critical socio-economic infrastructure; and (4) Keep public expenditure at sustainable levels.

 

Picking up from the State of Province address, the MEC highlighted that “…funding has been made available in sectors which are enablers of our economic reconstruction and recovery plan…,” further announcing that “…an amount of R123.7 million has been allocated to Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for the abalone farm…”

 

On the back of the announcement, is an approval of R206 million over the MTEF by the Province through the Provincial Economic Stimulus Fund. “The funding is specifically aimed at developing enabling infrastructure (i.e. roads, electrical, potable and storm water infrastructure, etc.) in Zone 10 of the Coega SEZ. This is to create an investment ready platform for aquaculture investors including abalone and finfish farms. The funding will unlock the first 100 ha in Phase 1 of the Coega Aquaculture Development Zone (ADZ),” explains Dr Keith Du Plessis, CDC Manager: Project Development.

 

The allocation from the Provincial Stimulus fund also includes work required to advance the gas to power programme, which is a critical component of ensuring the country’s energy security.

 

With the continued work by the Coega SEZ, through creating jobs, advancing industrialisation, and bringing development to local areas by investments signed and located in the Coega SEZ, the MEC highlighted “…, the two Special Economic Zones in the Province, East London and COEGA, are our nodal points for business investment and job creation.”

 

“Coega Development Corporation has been allocated a transfer budget of R192 million in this financial year and R193.4 million over the MTEF. These funds will be utilised for Zone development and operational expenditures which include investor attraction and retention. For this year, the Zone is targeting to attract eight (8) local and foreign direct investments worth R420 million; and facilitate the creation of approximately 10 382 new job opportunities.”

 

“The allocation will go a long way to ensure the continued sustainability of the CDC. Continuing an upward trajectory, funding plays a critical role in providing an investor friendly environment, well prepared with basic infrastructure for investors to access a plug and play environment within the Coega SEZ.”

 

“Generally, we welcome the speech by the MEC, especially on the aspects related to the work done by the CDC. The continuation of attracting investors in the Coega SEZ, in a difficult economic environment, gives us immense gratification,” concludes Dr. Vilakazi.
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