Johannesburg – Penwell Lunga, the chairperson of the South African Furniture Initiative, said the domestic industry is on the cusp of growing into a globally competitive and transformed industry that is on a mission to place locally manufactured and designed furniture into the homes, schools, and workplaces of all Africans and beyond.
“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 [Southern African Customs Union] and SADC [Southern African Development Community] import replacement,” Lunga said.
“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.”
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has put together the Furniture Industry Master Plan (FIMP) to establish clear guidelines and targets for the furniture manufacturing industry. The plan will also guide public sector procurement as part of government’s efforts to support and stimulate the industry.
Charles Witbooi, the manager of the key industry management unit at SA Revenue Service (SARS), 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.”
Ncumisa Mcata-Mhlauli, the chief director at the DTI, said all interventions, strategies, and future goals had been greatly influenced by the FIMP.
“The sector has a vision of becoming a fast-growing, profitable, inclusive, and sustainable South African furniture industry and this plan is all about partnerships as a social contract between the government, labour, and the private sector,” she said.
She said the FIMP provided opportunities, including competing with imports, while a strong demand locally could supply the potential for export. “The key is to expand and nurture existing SMMEs and assist them to grow and supply retailers.”
Follow @SundayWorldZA on Twitter and @sundayworldza on Instagram, or like our Facebook Page, Sunday World, by clicking here for the latest breaking news in South Africa. To Subscribe to Sunday World, click here.