‘Air access key for Bay economy to fly’
Air access is one of the key things Nelson Mandela Bay and the rest of the Eastern Cape need to reboot the economy.
This was the view of a panel of industry experts during a talk on factors influencing the metro’s economic reboot on Tuesday.
The panel consisted of Bay Business Chamber CEO Nomkhita Mona, Stratastute MD Roshni Gajjar, economics professor Ronney Ncwadi, Border-Kei chamber project manager Drayton Brown and Smarter EQ organisational development consultant Paolo Giuricich.
Mona said the chamber, together with the municipality, had worked towards increasing air access to the metro which was what business needed.
“This regions was not included in phase one of reopening airports and we have reached out to the Airports Company South African and the minister of transport.
“They told us they’re ready for airports to open.
“Last week, CAA would’ve come in to do inspections on the ground.
“We spoke to the transport minister’s office last week and it looks like air access is being reviewed and it does look like it’ll be included in the next phase.
“We do understand the need for air access so that new business can come into the airport,” Mona said.
Giuricich noted that pharmaceutical giant Aspen, which has the right to manufacturing dexamethasone which was found to be able to save lives of Covid-19 patients, was manufactured in Port Elizabeth yet planes could not fly in or out of the city.
“Trade is given by air access and yet it seems like the country is shunning us as not deserving of air access and yet we’re producing this key drug that’s important to Covid,” he said.
On rebooting the economy, the experts said the province needed public-private partnership to address issue of youth unemployment.
Ncwadi said there was a gap between what students learnt and studied at varsity and what was available on the job market.
“Many young people go to tertiary institutions. We need to manage skill and supply so we don’t have structural unemployment. We need a balance,” Ncwadi said.
Looking to the finance minister Tito Mboweni’s budget address on Wednesday, Ncwadi said structurally speaking, the SA economy was in a bad place.
“Covid-19 struck a bad economy. We had bailouts, a rise in unemployment. All these together put a bigger problem when Covid-19 hit.
“The structure of the economy is weak, weak institutions. We need to attend to structural issues. We need inclusive growth, a population that is educated and a healthy budget.
“If institutions are weak the economy will not grow.
“A way of getting out of the woods would be an inclusive economy where everyone participates,” Ncwadi said.
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