OECD maps out structural reforms to meet nation’s targets
THE ORGANISATION for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) yesterday laid down the marker for South Africa to embrace wide-ranging structural reforms that will set the economy on a new growth trajectory.
The OECD, which released its Economic Survey of South Africa yesterday in Pretoria, identified priority areas for future action, which includes efforts to maintain macroeconomic stability, improving the business environment and deepening regional integration as key to the country’s inclusive growth and job creation.
Angel Gurria, the secretary general of OECD, said South Africa had accomplished many great things in the past two decades, but building stronger and more inclusive growth would require bold action from policymakers.
“Ensuring a better future for all South Africans will require increased access to higher education, a stronger and fairer labour market, deeper participation in regional markets and a regulatory framework that fosters entrepreneurship and allows small businesses to thrive.
“Many of the reforms will be difficult, but the rewards will be worth the effort,” Gurria said.
The survey suggested that South Africa should consider the following structural policy reforms for it to meet its inclusive growth agenda: That the country opens up key sectors, including telecommunications, energy, transport and services to more competition.
It further encourages the country to have a wider development of apprenticeship and internship programmes and streamline the labour dispute system to increase flexibility and lower barriers to job creation.
Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said yesterday that steps had been taken to ease starting a business and the Department of Small Business Development was currently addressing the red tape associated with starting a small business through the simplification of procedures.
“We agree with the observations made in the 2017 Economic Survey that, among others, boosting entrepreneurship and growing small businesses will contribute to creating jobs.
“The government is in the process of finalising a complementary government fund aimed at financing small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in the start-up phase.”
“We further agree with the observation that the quality of the education system and lack of work experience contributes to gaps in entrepreneurial skills and, in that regard, government policies will provide more support for entrepreneurs and small businesses,” Gigaba said.
The OECD survey also found that the quality of South Africa’s education system and lack of work experience contributed to gaps in entrepreneurial skills and suggested there was scope to broaden the sources of finance and ensure that government policies provide both financial and non-financial support for small businesses.
The survey stressed that regional integration offered substantial opportunities for South Africa.