SA establishes councils to work on economic growth

Friday, September 27, 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa will soon announce the establishment of three Presidential Advisory Councils focusing on Economic Growth, Investment Promotion and State-Owned Enterprises.

This emerged on Thursday, during the President’s engagement with several business leaders on accelerating the pace of reforms to build business confidence, enhance investment and grow the economy faster.

“The Advisory Councils will bring together diverse local and international expertise from government, business, labour, academia and civil society to further generate and guide implementation of substantive and practical interventions for faster economic growth and job creation,” the Presidency said.

The Councils will also drive the process of rebuilding the governance capacity in several state-owned companies.

“The Advisory Councils will contribute to building a capable state, as demanded by the National Development Plan, through a transfer of skills and improvement on economic policy formulation and implementation,” said the Presidency.

The President’s engagement, which was attended by the leadership of South Africa’s major banks and representatives from business bodies, was held at the request of business.

“Business leaders wish to support several broader initiatives, including the regular engagement at Nedlac to address the employment crisis in the country,” the Presidency said.

The President has committed to hold similar engagements with other social partners including organised labour. 

“The meeting acknowledged the work done by government to date to, among others, rebuild and strengthen state institutions including the South African Revenue Service and National Prosecuting Authority, as well as interventions in several state-owned companies.

“The meeting further considered progress on the implementation of much-needed reforms for faster economic growth, including the restructuring of Eskom, the release of spectrum, digital migration and a comprehensive review of the country’s visa regime,” the Presidency said.

The President welcomed the engagement, saying the challenges confronting the country require a collaborative approach underpinned by a strong social compact between all social partners.

“The President has further agreed on the need to fast-track the short-term reforms announced in, among others, the economic recovery and stimulus plan. He has also reaffirmed government’s commitment to reduce regulatory impediments to investment and growth. 

“To this end, the President highlighted work done by government to enhance policy certainty in key areas, including through the publication of a revised mining charter, and a directive on the release of spectrum,” the Presidency said.

The President has lauded significant progress made to South Africa’s visa regime which is already yielding successes including positive growth in forward bookings from Ghana, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates, among other source markets.

In a different sector, the Development Bank of Southern Africa is at an advanced stage in the establishment of the Infrastructure Fund Implementation Unit that will drive operationalisation of the Infrastructure Fund announced by the President.

This Unit is in the process of finalising a pipeline of initial projects that will be presented at the South Africa Investment Conference in November. –