B4SA welcomes Ramaphosa’s economic recovery plan, calls for immediate implementation

Business for SA media statement: 

“We shall not rest until we have built a new economy based on fairness, justice and equality. This is the task of our generation – to renew, to repair, to rebuild”
President Cyril Ramaphosa, 15 October 2020

Business for South Africa (B4SA), the alliance of volunteers formed to support the national response to combat and recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, welcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of far-reaching plans for economic reconstruction and recovery.

B4SA has spent a considerable time formulating an accelerated economic recovery strategy for South Africa, particularly in view of the impact caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. B4SA’s Steering Committee Chairman, Martin Kingston, said: “We are pleased to see that our recommendations have significantly informed and contributed to the social partners’ discussions at Nedlac, and appropriately referenced in today’s Reconstruction and Recovery Plan presented by the President. We continue to believe that we need to live within our limited means and are firmly of the view that this recovery plan needs to be read in the light of the forthcoming Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement, scheduled for release later this month.”

The business sector has repeatedly emphasised the need to prioritise the critical interventions that must be implemented in the short and medium term, and all social partners must work together and harness all available resources to reinforce state capacity.

Kingston added: “We welcome and agree with the President’s focus on jobs, growth, debt reduction and the essential participation by the private sector. An effective, ethical, responsive and viable state, working with social partners – including business – is vital for South Africa to recover from Covid-19 and build an inclusive, transformed and growing economy. We now need to urgently implement the recovery plan, give effect to the structural reforms that have been outlined, continue addressing corruption in the public and private sectors and rapidly increase state capacity. All of this is required if South Africa is to attract the necessary investment, create sustainable jobs as well as reignite and maintain meaningful and inclusive economic growth.”

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The four pillars are aligned with the discussions held between all social partners, facilitated by Nedlac: massive infrastructure investment; expanding energy generation with meaningful private sector participation; large-scale employment stimulus; and industrial growth helped by a buy-local campaign. Business is committed to supporting these plans if implemented efficiently and transparently.

B4SA agrees that many deep and pre-defined structural reforms are required to support economic recovery and reconstruction. The necessary restructuring of network infrastructure and state-owned entities is welcomed and long overdue. We support the accepted priorities centered around the infrastructural investment programme, the strategic localisation and re-industrialisation initiatives, as well as enabling conditions for a supportive policy environment.

Kingston said: “As a country we now need to immediately move into implementation. The principles of collaboration, simplicity and effectiveness, clear timelines, defined responsibilities and avoiding duplication are all accepted, and are at the heart of our approach. We have mobilised teams of available resources, focused on these and other priority sectors, and stand ready to work with all partners to roll-out these critically important initiatives.”

B4SA supports and encourages the need to strengthen empowerment, transform ownership patterns in the economy including participation of women, vulnerable groups and further reinforce the role of small business and cooperatives. Boosting employment, while enhancing education and skills development, are acknowledged as non-negotiables. The support indicated for small- to medium-sized enterprises is a critical prerequisite to inclusiveness and sustainable, accelerated growth.

“This disastrous pandemic,” concluded Kingston, “demands that we continue to adjust our behavior to curtail the spread of the virus, to find new ways of working safely and responsibly, while maintaining employment wherever possible. We must continue to provide support to the most vulnerable in our society and, at the same time, collectively drive the nation’s economic restructuring and recovery plan”.

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