Publication: News24 Issued: Date: 2001-03-01 Reporter: Sapa Editor:

Only 15 000 Arms Deal Jobs

Publication  News24
Date 2001-03-01
Reporter Sapa
Web Link

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 "overly optimistic".  

However, the 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... "  

"Some confusion 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 report says.  

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 estimates/targets." 

With acknowledgement to Sapa and News24.