Safi target: By 2025, 50% of furniture sold in retail should be made in SA
This was the topic of discussion at the 3rd Annual Safi Furniture Sector Forum, which recently took place online.
Increasing market share of locally-manufactured furniture
According to Penwell Lunga, chairperson of the South African Furniture Initiative (Safi), prioritising its strategy into providing market access, including access to raw materials, playing a central role in trade interventions and remedies, building an industry data platform for market intelligence and improving the technical skills of the workforce will play a pivotal role in reaching the end goal.
“We are working to increase the market share of locally-manufactured furniture within furniture retail by 50% by 2025 as well as achieving a 50% target for SACU and SADC import replacement,” Lunga told the delegates. “Most importantly, we want to roll out a non-tariff barrier strategy to prevent illegal imports and implement an appropriate certification process in respect of all furniture imports by 2023.”
Charles Witbooi, manager of the Key Industry Management (Kim) unit at Sars, concurred with this sentiment and emphasised the importance of building partnerships through engagement with key industries on operational or strategic issues aimed at improving compliance to monitor improvement of declaration of compliance and to contribute to capacity building by enlisting industry expertise to partner with Sars.
“I believe it is in the best interest of Sars for our industries to thrive, and the level of participation for the furniture industry is to be commended,” Witbooi said. “At Sars, we try to create an environment for the furniture industry to be competitive and we provide key activities, including monitoring, partnerships, capacity building and compliance to detect taxpayers not complying, thereby developing a high-performance workforce for working with and through stakeholders.”
Amidst perceived circumstances of low custom value imports and the threats of dumping, Witbooi pointed out the opportunities that are available to explore the growth of the industry. These include surety and bonds, the role of small and medium businesses (SMMEs), the suspension of and refunds in duties and rebates, as well as the suspensions of duties and VAT on warehousing.
Enhancing skills training and development
PK Naicker, the general manager: planning, research and reporting at the FP&M Seta, supported Witbooi’s view when he pointed out the importance of enhancing skills training and development towards the expansion of the economic potential and growth of the industry.
“With a skills strategy in place, we can expand industry competitiveness and exports, promote environmental sustainability, as well as world-class manufacturing,” Naicker said. “Amidst the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), identifying future and emerging skills, as well as identifying occupations in high demand, we can provide quality coaching and mentoring to support on-the-job training and fit-for-purpose to industry needs.”
Courtesy of Bizcommunity -full article here