Economic support measures to remain in place

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cape Town - Support measures that government had put in place for businesses and citizens to help the country weather the effects of the recession would remain in place for now said President Jacob Zuma, while revealing that further measures would be taken to boost the economic recovery.

In his State of the Nation Address, Zuma said though economic indicators suggested that the worst was over and that labour statistics released this week showed that the economy had now begun to create - rather than shed jobs, it was too soon to be certain of the pace of recovery.

"Now is the time to lay the groundwork for stronger growth going forward, and for growth that gives rise to more jobs," he said.

Zuma said while the government's infrastructure programme would help the country to grow, education and skills programmes would help boost the country's productivity and competitiveness.

The government's new Industrial Policy Action Plan, which had just been approved by Cabinet this week, along with the focus on green jobs, would help build "stronger and more labour-absorbing industries", he said.

The rural development programme will improve rural productivity and the lives of people living in rural areas.

Zuma said underpinning government's strategy for economic growth and recovery is the capital investment programme, with the government set to spend R846 billion on public infrastructure over the next three years.

The country's road network would be expanded, while the rail network was integrated with harbours.

Zuma said the government was working to reduce the communication costs which would help encourage greater economic growth.

The government would also work to increase broadband speeds and ensure a high standard of internet service, in line with international norms.

"The South African public can look forward to an even further reduction of broadband, cellphone, landline and public phone rates," he said.