LETTER: Localisation master plans doomed to costly failure
Higher tariffs equal higher prices at the tills
When Peter Bruce gets his teeth into something he feels strongly about you can be sure it will be well and truly chewed when he is finished (“At last, some localised competition for Patel’s policies”, November 17). For weeks now he has been getting stuck into the pie-in-the-sky localisation plans of trade, industry & competition minister Ebrahim Patel, which many experienced researchers predict will lead SA up the proverbial creek.
Bruce’s latest column really set the cat among the pigeons, with two top academics and their researchers having concluded that, with few exceptions, localisation of the industries selected by the government will fail, resulting in increased costs and poorer quality, accompanied by shortages and delays.
The master plans devised by Patel’s department are doomed to costly failure, further damaging our devastated economy. Am I the only reader who is totally sick and tired of the constant, long-running vicious attacks on foreign trading partners and local importers, just because they have the audacity to sell their products to SA at lower prices than we are able to produce?
We conduct ourselves like a hugely successful economy entitled to insult, threaten and bully countries and corporations around the world to force them to raise their prices and so protect local industry. If they don’t comply we conduct an “impartial” investigation and then raise import tariffs.
How long until foreign trading partners’ patience runs out with the former rainbow nation of Nelson Mandela, and they flex their economic muscle? We would take a huge, well-deserved, humiliating hiding.
A total of 27 SA industries has been targeted for the process of localisation. Millions of South Africans live in abject poverty without jobs, homes, electricity, running water or working toilets, yet we are warned that these pitiful souls should not be offered imported products, including basic foods, at lower than locally dictated prices because it doesn’t fit the profit agenda of local industry.
Let’s clearly understand that higher tariffs equal higher prices at the tills. Do we want more looting and food riots by those in genuine distress? Remove punitive tariffs, stop all the expensive, unpleasant actions and applications and drop the silly dream of localisation so SA can remain fully integrated in international supply chains. Profits will then look after themselves as sales grow. Now that’s a real, proven master plan.
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