OECD maps out struc­tural re­forms to meet na­tion’s tar­gets

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - Ka­belo Khu­malo

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.

Sup­port

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.

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