South Africa’s Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene has called for an improved nature of investment in the country so as to realise the agenda of the National Development Plan (NDP).
“We need to change the quality and composition of our expenditure and start investing more on infrastructure,” Nene told an NDP discussion.
Nene added that one of the major tasks of his department was to aligning the budget process with the National Development Plan goals.
“[The budget process] feeds into the broader medium term strategic framework which is a five year government plan which requires our plan to talk directly to the NDP agenda,” he said.
Nene said South Africa’s growth should be driven by infrastructural investment rather than consumption.
The National Development Plan is the government’s economic blueprint designed to promote development and eradicate poverty by 2030.
The plan emphasises the partnership between government, labour and business
Edward Kieswetter, chief executive of Alexander Forbes said electricity remained a challenge for the country’s growth and urged the country to explore alternatives with the power project driven from the Inga dam in Congo.
Kieswetter said the Inga dam option was the lowest electricity cost available.
The finance minister responded that South Africa had already signed treaties on the Inga dam project as this involved bilateral agreements between countries.
Nene added that hale gas had been identified as one of the energy alternatives the country was exploring in its bid to address energy challenges.
“Shale gas has been identified as one of the energy mix. Some work has been done in the Karoo, but it has a number of environmental issues related to that,” said Nene.
Judi Nwokedi of Tourvest said, had the country gone ahead started on nuclear built project in 2008 the country would not be in the start-stop electricity crisis it was facing.
Colin Coleman from Goldman Sachs said the interests of the government and private sector were aligned calling for more collaborative efforts between the two partners.
Nene said government welcomes offers for the business to participate in the war room, an initiative seeking to address power challenges affecting electricity delivery.
He added that the country was working towards making Eskom to be financially sustainable and ensuring that it delivers on its mandate.
The construction industry players took the opportunity to lament challenges facing the sector.
“The industry is presently divided as we have the black side of the industry and the white side of the industry,” said Chris Jiyane, vice chairman of the Construction Industry Development Board.
Jiyane added that issues such as collision were still hugging the industry [though], there was some interaction between the government and private sector.