SA econ­omy’s con­trac­tion a wake-up call for state – Nene

Sunday Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - GIVEN MAJOLA

THAT South Africa’s econ­omy con­tracted by 2.2% in the first quar­ter was a wake-up call for gov­ern­ment, said the fi­nance min­is­ter.

Nh­lanhla Nene made the com­ment at a busi­ness break­fast in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg yes­ter­day, or­gan­ised by ac­coun­tants and au­dit­ing firm, Mo­rar In­cor­po­rated, and themed “A new dawn for the South African Econ­omy”.

“One of the wake-up calls has been the GDP num­bers that were re­leased this week. Just when you think you are sail­ing then some­thing comes up. This comes af­ter the econ­omy sur­prised us and showed a 3.1% in­crease. This cur­rent con­trac­tion of 2.2% means we need to take a mi­cro­scopic view on where ex­actly we lost it in the first half of the year.”

Nene said los­ing the sta­tus as the con­ti­nent’s eco­nomic pow­er­house was not due to a lack of plans, but as a re­sult of not im­ple­ment­ing those plans.

“It is for that rea­son we should take ad­van­tage of the new dawn in gov­ern­ment and stim­u­late the econ­omy, cre­ate em­ploy­ment and deal with poverty and inequal­ity.”

Chal­lenges pre­vent­ing the coun­try from achiev­ing its eco­nomic po­ten­tial were the lack of skills, he said.

Speak­ing on youth un­em­ploy­ment, Nene said ac­cess to places of work and spa­tial sit­u­a­tion with costs of trav­el­ling be­tween the place of work were caus­ing many youth to give up on seek­ing jobs.

He said de­spite the con­trac­tion, the new dawn – led by Ramaphosa – brought con­fi­dence both in busi­nesses and con­sumers.

“This con­fi­dence in­crease is a sign of hope and if it is to be trans­lated into in­vest­ment and jobs by the pri­vate sec­tor, gov­ern­ment needs to de­liver on the iden­ti­fied re­forms. A lot of work has been done both by gov­ern­ment and the pri­vate sec­tor to fix South Africa dur­ing this new dawn,” he said.

Mo­rar In­cor­po­rated man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Roshan Mo­rar said it had em­braced the “new dawn”.

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