Only 15 000 Arms Deal Jobs
Cape Town -
Parliament's trade and industry and economic affairs committees say the
estimates of 15 000 direct jobs linked to the R43 billion arms deal are not
committees said they were not qualified to comment on the indirect job
estimates, which according to the trade and industry ministry would push the
figure up to 65 000.
This follows concerns
raised by another parliamentary committee - the standing committee on public
accounts (Scopa) - that the 65 000 job estimate is optimistic. Scopa, in its
interim report to Parliament in November last year, called on the two committees
to investigate the matter further and report back.
In their report to
Parliament on Wednesday, the two committees said: "Taking into account the
record of actual direct job creation to date, the estimates ... do not seem to
us to be overly optimistic, provided of course that the contractual obligations
of suppliers are complied with." The committees were told that the number
of direct jobs created to date was about 2 043.
Appearing before the
committees earlier this month, Trade and Industry Minister Alec Erwin said 9 500
direct jobs should be created, by 2008, from the industrial participation
programmes linked to the deal, with a further 5 500 arising from the
construction of certain manufacturing plants. Government had multiplied this
figure of 15 000 jobs by four to calculate the number of knock-on indirect jobs
expected to be created. "If the projects emerge, we feel the figure of 65
000 is attainable," he said.
The committees on
Wednesday said the indirect job estimates rested on econometric assumptions that
"we do not feel qualified to comment on". "We cannot, in other
words, offer any useful comment on the assumption that four indirect jobs will
be created for each direct job - which may be higher or lower."
The committees said
some of the confusion and misunderstanding about the job estimates appeared to
arise from not fully understanding the way in which figures were calculated, and
"perhaps from ‘optimistic' presentation or expectations in some quarters
that misinterpreted or misunderstood the total to be created... "
or misunderstanding of the 65 000 total, as the direct jobs that would arise
from the projects, also seems to have been evident in some quarters," the
The committee said
that from the point of parliamentary oversight, what was needed was a relatively
rigorous and clearly measurable set of indicators against which actual
performance could be assessed.
"The estimate of
direct jobs used for purposes of risk and economic impact assessment seem to us
to offer a relatively clear, coherent and realistic set of
acknowledgement to Sapa and News24.