“South Africa is open for business, we’re going through a rough period like most economies but we will survive if we work together using the National Development Plan (NDP),” said Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s President speaking at the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) Annual Convention.
He explained that emerging markets have been under immense pressure due to global and domestic factors and South Africa has not been immune to these challenges.
“While the situation remains difficult, we remain optimistic because we have programmes in place to inject life into a very challenging period.”
Zuma said that in order to get the domestic economy to perform at its full potential, the NDP needs to be implemented.
“The NDP is the country’s socio economic roadmap and is supported by the majority of the country as it tells us what needs to be achieved over the next few years,” Zuma added.
A major focus of the NDP is on infrastructure spending, which in total will cost three trillion rand.
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According to Zuma, the 2014/15 national budget is committing 847 billion rand over the next three years on infrastructure investment. The bulk of which will be used on improving power generation, freight and logistics.
Government will also be working closely with the financial sector to build relations with the private sector in order to secure the additional funding required.
“These are the initiatives we are undertaking to support small business and create jobs.”
Another major focus of the NDP is on boosting intra-Africa trade by simplifying the trade regime for companies who are doing business on the continent.
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“We are working on simplifying tax and a foreign exchange framework for those businesses with operations in the rest of Africa. The cap on such benefits for listed companies will be increased along with incentives to cater for the varying needs of businesses,” said Zuma.
While many other initiatives are in place, Zuma reiterated that the public and private sector needs to work together to implement the NDP effectively.
“We are working intensely with the private sector to remove obstacles hindering investment in order to achieve inclusive growth and create jobs,”
“The NDP will allow us to all work together in one direction.”
Operation Phakisa has therefore become an important tool to fast-tracking the NDP goals as well as bringing various members of society together. The government initiative was launched earlier this year and is based on the Malaysian government’s ‘Big Fast Results’ methodology.
“Operation Phakisa meets the anxiety of government to quicken the process of delivery. The uniqueness of operation Phakisa however is that we are working together as business, government, labour and community, to develop plans to take South Africa forward to prosperity,” said Zuma.