NEWS & ANALYSIS

Ramaphosa's stimulus package welcome - SACCI

Alan Mukoki notes that everything mentioned in President's plan has been heard before

SACCI statement in response to stimulus package

Today President Cyril Ramaphosa announced government’s stimulus package. Included in the statement were initiatives around growth-enhancing economic reforms, the reprioritisation of public spending to stimulate and support job creation, the establishment of an infrastructure fund, key interventions in education and health, and investment in social infrastructure in municipalities.

SACCI welcomes these announcements as South Africa faces distinct challenges around unemployment, economic growth, inequality and poverty. SACCI looks forward to hearing more detail on how many jobs would be created, where the funding would be reprioritised from, and how new legislation will work more effectively than existing policy, which on the face of it is seemingly good but has little impact.

Everything mentioned in the President’s stimulus package has been heard before - in one form or another over the past 5 years. They, in fact, all form part of government’s existing medium-term strategic framework. The Minister of Finance and his team has been reprioritising the budget in line with key priorities since 2011. Education and health already receive a substantial portion of the budget as key social sectors – with most of the funding provided to provincial government as part of the equitable share and conditional grants. SACCI therefore awaits more in-depth detail on these initiatives within the stimulus package, along with clarifying information on the energy sector – which ultimately drives many businesses’ abilities to expand.

The President’s mentioned a review of visas for business and tourism. SACCI, however, looks forward to hearing additional information about South Africa’s relationship with the rest of Africa and expanding our economy into the region, leveraging the water, electricity, skills, technology and growth that is available across our borders.

It is hoped that discussions and outcomes of the Investment and Jobs Summit (25, 26 and 27 October) will establish a firmer understanding of what is envisaged and possible in the next 3 years; along with the medium-term budget policy statement providing a guideline on what the budget may look like once public spending has been reprioritised.

It continues to come down to all social partners to work towards rooting out corruption and the misuse of money, along with a possibly redrafted way of doing things, and building capacity and capabilities to really see the difference. Social partners need to work towards common long-term goals – not idealistic or separatist, short-term ones. All of us need to translate policy, plans and ideas into actual outcomes that can be measured and monitored. Otherwise we continue to talk about the problems without solving them.

What is clear though is that the government appears committed to making a difference and working with partners. SACCI and its members stand ready to take up the challenge.

Statement issued by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) CEO of SACCI Mr Alan Mukoki, 21 September 2018