Sona: What has been done – Economy

2012-02-11 16:59

President Zuma’s administration aimed for the economy to grow at about 7% in order to generate 5 million jobs in the next 10 years. 

But economic growth is nowhere near 7%, and the economy has failed to create massive employment to drive down poverty and the staggeringly high unemployment rate of 25%. According to latest official figures from Stats SA, the economy grew by 4.4% in the fourth quarter of last year, slightly higher than the market forecast of 4.2%.

The ongoing euro zone credit crisis has prompted the International Monetary Fund to revise South Africa’s
projected growth this year downwards to 2.5% from 3.6%.Despite gloomy economic forecasts, the government is going ahead with policies that can help the economy to create jobs, especially in the manufacturing sector.

Last June, Cabinet approved a minerals beneficiation policy that will turn raw materials like platinum into high-value industrial exports. With recommendations in the ANC’s document on state participation in mining also stressing the need for local beneficiation, the policy is expected to be implemented
with vigour.

On the small business development front, the merger of three state development finance institutions was also
approved by Cabinet last October.

Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said the merger of the SA Micro-Finance Apex Fund, the Small Enterprise Development Agency and Khula Enterprise will be finalised by April and result in better coordinated SMME funding.Government is also trying to address the shortage of electricity and opened bidding in August for independent power producers to supply to the national grid.

Progress was also made in filling vacant posts in government. Last October, Monitoring and Evaluation Minister Collins Chabane said all three tiers of government were close to filling their vacant positions, with only about 15 000 posts still open at national and provincial level.

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