Feb 21, 2019The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) in Port Elizabeth on Thursday said that it welcomes the budget speech delivered by the Minister of Finance, Tito Titus Mboweni.The CDC supports the Minister’s sentiments, especially on “creating a sensible project pipeline.”The CDC has over the years worked tirelessly to develop a healthy investment project pipeline in the Coega Special Economic Zone. Investment promotion activities throughout the globe that have been undertaken by the CDC have resulted in tangible outcomes with an investor project pipeline surpassing R297 billion pledged.“Coega’s investment pipeline is solid and realistic; this has been attested to by various delegates at the inaugural South Africa Investment Conference late last year and recently at the Eastern Cape Investment Conference last week in East London,” says Dr. Ayanda Vilakazi, CDC Head of Marketing and Communication.“The CDC has identified eleven (11) bankable projects worth R297 billion pledged, including the much talked about R80 billion Oil Refinery,” adds Dr. Vilakazi.To date, the CDC has delivered on its mandate to provide socio-economic development for the Eastern Cape and this has enabled the creation of jobs in excess of 112 974 since inception in 1999. The Coega SEZ has attracted 43 operational investors, who have invested R7.979 billion. By year end 2019/20, the CDC is projecting an increase in the number of operational investors in the Coega SEZ to 50 with R8, 24 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), making Coega the most successful and leading SEZ in Africa.Coega supportive of Tito Mboweni’s 2019 Budget Speech While the Minister`s comments on the Government`s “R19.8 billion allocations for industrial business incentives” couldn’t have come at a better time, the CDC`s investment project pipeline will certainly boost industrialization, manufacturing, job creation as well as serve to attract more Foreign Direct Investment.Supportive of the“long term vision” highlighted by the Minister, the CDC since its infancy stages, through funding by government, invested on world class infrastructure in terms of roads, bulk water and sewer networks, telecommunication sleeve networks, electrical substations (HV and MV), and overhead power lines (HV and MV) – all that investors are looking for and more in a world class special economic zone.“This has enabled, what we refer to as a ‘plug and play’ environment, where potential investors are able to come to Coega, as the Minister eloquently put it, ‘build’ with no hassles,” highlights Dr. Vilakazi.The CDC also supports the government’s commitment to “Improve the education system and develop skills”. This is at the forefront of the CDC’s focus as a socio-economic development agency. Through the use of its expertise in developing the Coega SEZ over the past 20 years, the CDC has been at the forefront of improving infrastructure on behalf of government departments in SA. As a result, the CDC is currently one of the leading Infrastructure Implementing Agents (IA) in the country, responsible for billions of Rands in infrastructure development and facilities management. The CDC welcomes the “maths and science grant” highlighted by the Minister, since the CDC established a successful Maths & Science programme in 2012 that has given a second chance to grade 12 learners to improve their marks in Mathematics and Physical Science, thus enabling them access to Universities.We expect that with the grant, the CDC will increase the number of students on the programme and strengthen its partnership with like-minded stakeholders including the Council for the Built Environment (CBE).In addition, what the organization’s has welcomed with great enthusiasm is the “R481.6 million allocated to the Small Enterprise Development Agency”.SMME development and support is not foreign to the CDC; following a deliberate decision by the organization to increase SMME procurement spend on its projects to 39%. In 2017/18, CDC spent R707 million on SMME procurement. SMMEs are important to job creation and economic growth, as a result the focus on them is critical for the country.“It is paramount to the CDC that we contribute towards achieving the $100 billion FDI target over the next 5 years as set by President Ramaphosa. The vision and budget targets as outlined by Minister Mboweni will assist the CDC to execute our mandate of socio-economic development vigorously,” concludes Dr. Vilakazi.Follow more RNEWS articles, subscribe to our YouTube channel and for breaking news LIKE us on Facebook. For news on the Western Cape click here.