Old Mutual Fund to promote local economy

Thursday, July 5, 2018

The commitment by Old Mutual to create a R500 million Fund to promote the development of the local economy will boost the country’s efforts to build an inclusive economy.

This is according to Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane who called on other corporates in the financial sector to develop similar developmental funding instruments through dialogue with Government.

The Minister was briefing the media on the outcomes of the Cabinet meeting that was held on Wednesday.

“Cabinet welcomes the recent primary listing of Old Mutual on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). This listing by a company with a market capitalization of $10bn (R130bn), is a significant vote of confidence in South Africa and the local financial markets.

“Cabinet appreciates that the primary listing in South Africa returns Old Mutual to its African roots and ends its period as a London-based financial services group,” Mokonyane said on Thursday.

Tax Season

Cabinet has also encouraged all taxpayers to submit their annual tax returns for the 2017/18 tax season, which opened for filing on 1 July 2018.

“Proper and efficient revenue collection ensures fiscal sovereignty, and timeous and accurate submissions ensure that taxpayers remain compliant. Tax revenue helps government to fund the country’s service-delivery projects and other socio-economic development programmes,” Mokonyane said.

Petrol Price

In response to the recent fuel price increase, Cabinet appealed to the private sector to lend a hand, by delaying to transfer the impact of the fuel prices to the consumer.

“This will go a long way in cushioning the poor, who will be directly affected by these price fluctuations. Growing our economy will go a long way in stabilising our economy,” she said.

Cabinet has noted the recent fuel increases, which follows from another price increase in the past month.

“Another fuel price increase is anticipated next month. The Brent Crude Oil Dollar denominated price has been affecting the general prices of petrol, diesel and paraffin. Our currency’s exchange rate to the US dollar has fallen by more than one percent since the beginning of May this year,” the Minister said.

She said the cyclical currency changes, which result in price fluctuations, has impacted negatively on the consumers, particularly the poor.

Cabinet has assured South Africans that government is making an effort to alleviate the challenges faced by poor communities.

“National Treasury has appointed a nine-member panel of experts to review the current list of Value-Added Tax (VAT) zero-rated items currently consisting of 19 basic food items,” she said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is also leading a team, comprising representatives from both government and the private sector, to draw in more investors into the country in an effort to grow the country’s economy and create much-needed jobs, particularly for unemployed youth.

African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFRA)

The Minister said South Africa’s signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement with the African Union is expected to yield great socio-economic benefits for all countries on the continent.

The signing of this agreement by South Africa brings the number of countries who have signed to 49.

“The AfCFTA takes the continent closer to the creation of the world’s biggest free trade area.

According to the UN, it is estimated that the AfCFTA will boost intra Africa trade by 53% by eliminating import duties and non-tariff barriers. This agreement is potentially poised to create an African market of more than 1.2 billion people with an economy worth US$2.5 trillion.

The Minister of Trade and Industry will commence the process to get the Agreement ratified through Parliament. – SAnews.gov.za