The IFP policy on trade and industry is to promote economic growth, stability and prosperity through the creation of a framework of social stability, law and order, discipline, dedication to hard work and productivity. In South Africa’s plural and diverse society there exists a need to find an original path to economic development and it requires a transformation to a free-market based, responsible economy.
The IFP advocates the urgent privatisation and commercialisation of public enterprises on the basis of economic, and not political, considerations. Remaining public bureaucracies must become more efficient and effective.
Government debt must be reduced, and mechanisms of accountability in government should be introduced.
Foreign trade must be encouraged through a long-term vision aimed at changing South Africa from an import replacement economy, to an export-oriented economy through, for instance, the establishment of free-trade zones and export processing zones.
Local manufacturers should be encouraged to become more export-minded. In the interests of opening up the economy further, the government should provide additional foreign investment incentives, whilst seeking to expand co-operation and ties with existing world trade blocks.
The IFP supports South Africa’s membership of regional trade agreements, such as those stemming from the Southern African Development Community (SADC). It is recognised that the economic development of South Africa’s neighbours has positive spin-offs for this country.
The IFP supports the establishment of free trade agreements such as those offered by the European Union. The government must aim to conclude such agreements as quickly as possible.
While taking cognisance of the impediments within the South African economy, and its uniqueness in respect of international competitiveness, the IFP would nevertheless promote the alignment of South Africa’s foreign trade policy with the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The IFP favours the development of South Africa’s international competitiveness as a means of countering monopolies and also advocates the implementation of strong anti-trust legislation.
Unnecessary and inhibiting regulations should be eliminated. Small businesses, micro-enterprises and the informal sector make an enormous contribution to South Africa’s economic prosperity, therefore programmes of assistance aimed at removing obstacles faced by innovative entrepreneurs should be introduced.
Businesses and tertiary institutions should be encouraged to expand their provision of technical and career-orientated education, adult education and in-service training.
The IFP believes in promoting the economic interests of provinces and regions, particularly within KwaZulu-Natal, on the basis of regional economic integration and cooperation. Such a policy may even lead to the establishment of regional trading blocs.
The regulation of internal trade and commerce should be performed by provincial and local governments. In addition, provincial and local governments should be free to establish their own incentive schemes to attract investors to their regions.
The State should avoid entering into corporative type arrangements with the newly emerging aristocracies of unionised labour and existing large monopolies.
Finally, the IFP favours the creation of tools which would enable civil society to effectively police abuse within the freedom of the marketplace.