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Cosatu calls for promotion of local e-commerce industry

Cosatu said that the Trade, Industry and Competition Department should explicitly prioritise the promotion of local procurement to help build domestic industries and safeguard jobs.

Picture: 123rf.com

JOHANNESBURG - Cosatu has called for the promotion of e-commerce following the easing of regulations to open the industry.

The trade union federation said that while it welcomed the clarity on which goods could be purchased online, this should not be done at the expense of local procurement.

While the expansive opening of e-commerce during the lockdown has been widely welcomed by South Africans, Cosatu is worried that not much is being done to promote the industry locally.

Most online stores are internationally owned, with taxes only paid to the businesses’ host countries.

Cosatu said that the Trade, Industry and Competition Department should explicitly prioritise the promotion of local procurement to help build domestic industries and safeguard jobs.

This would be in line with previous declarations such as that of the jobs summit two years ago.

The federation further warned against South Africa being turned into a huge warehouse of imported finished foreign goods, likening the situation to previous colonial patterns of trade.

The latest Stats SA data on e-commerce in the country shows that the industry amounts to only 1% of the total retail market.

This was valued at R10 billion in comparison to the country’s general retail trade which is estimated to be R1 trillion.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.