PRETORIA PLANS PRO-GROWTH INTERVENTIONS TO RE-IGNITE GROWTH, SAYS ZUMA

CAPE TOWN, The South African government will forge ahead and implement pro-growth intervention measures to re-ignite growth after the economy recently slipped into a technical recession, says President Jacob Zuma.

He said this when responding to a question posed in the National Assembly here Thursday by opposition leader from the Democratic Alliance (DA) party Mmusi Maimane on how the government would respond to the technical recession and which sections of the economy would be used to re-ignite growth.

In order to ensure that we can turn the economy around in the shortest possible time, we are drawing on the experience of 2008 and 2009 when the economy had previously been in recession. Top of our priorities will be to fast-track the implementation of pro-growth measures and structural reforms. We are working to re-ignite growth informed by the Nine-Point Plan that we launched recently, Zuma said.

Statistics South Africa recently announced that the country's economy had slipped into a technical recession after the gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by -0.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, its second consecutive quarter of negative growth.

The president said interventions to be implemented to mitigate the effects of the recession would be in the areas of energy, manufacturing, transport, telecommunications, water, tourism, the oceans economy, mining, agriculture and the Industrial Policy Action Plan, as well as managing workplace conflict.

He said the government was also improving South Africa's exports to the rest of the continent and reclaiming parts of the domestic market. Macro-economic reform, together with ensuring more local spending by the government, will also assist.

Unlocking new investment and ensuring better coordination across a range of economic policy instruments available to the state and with our social partners will be important, Zuma said.

The President said there were a number of initiatives aimed at re-igniting growth including boosting the rate of investment in the economy through initiatives like a one stop shop in the form of Invest South Africa that was launched recently; and bolstering investment in infrastructure.

There was a need to speed up competition in the economy, he said, adding that competition authorities were embarking on far-reaching investigations of various markets, ranging from healthcare to transport and grocery retail. These market inquiries will help to ensure that more dynamic markets can merge in key sectors of the economy, he said.

Zuma said the government was also speeding up efforts to ensure there is regulatory certainty. This will include areas such as spectrum allocation, the Independent Power Producer (IPP) electricity procurement programmes and land reform to so that investors have greater clarity on public policy.

We need to focus on turning around poorly performing state-owned companies so that they are able to produce key utilities to the economy on a reliable and cost-effective basis. We are deepening our efforts on social partnerships. The honourable member would have seen the results of these efforts from the broad agreement on the National Minimum Wage. More efforts to build partnerships with business and labour will be pursued," the president said.

These efforts, together with measures to boost youth employment and deepen trade relations with the rest of the continent, will form part of our coordinated package to keep the technical recession as short as possible and to re-ignite economic growth.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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