IMF says SA doesn’t need, hasn’t asked for assistance

By Prinesha Naidoo

(Bloomberg) – South Africa has not asked the International Monetary Fund for assistance and does not need it, the lender’s resident representative in the country said.

The IMF doesn’t see a balance-of-payments problem in South Africa, which means there’s no need for IMF support, Montfort Mlachila said Thursday at a conference hosted by the Bureau for Economic Research in Johannesburg.

The country’s biggest business lobby has warned that approaching the IMF could become necessary unless there is enough political will to address the problems at the cash-strapped state-owned power utility and remove impediments to economic growth. The ruling African National Congress and central bank have quashed speculation that the government may have to ask the IMF for help, with Governor Lesetja Kganyago saying the nation’s finances haven’t deteriorated to that point.

Read also: IMF chief urges SA to stay the course

Mlachila said structural reforms can help boost growth, which the BER forecast at 0.2% for the year. These include the allocation of broadband spectrum, a simplified visa process, increased competition in productive and service markets, more labor-market flexibility and leaner and more efficient state-owned companies.

Broadband allocation and simplifying the visa process are “readily achievable policies” that can boost confidence, Mlachila said.