Mboweni: 'I can tell you, the train is moving'

Finance minister Tito Mboweni at the Banking Summit. Photo: The Banking Association of SA.
Finance minister Tito Mboweni at the Banking Summit. Photo: The Banking Association of SA.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni told a press conference in Davos, Switzerland that "the train is moving" on reforms aimed at boosting economic growth.

This is in apparent contrast to a spate of recent tweets in which the minister expressed frustration at the slow pace of reforms.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum, the minister noted that structural reforms were "very critical" to giving impetus to the growth process in South Africa.

"As such, we will continue to push for these reforms to take place," he said.

"We have unanimity in the Cabinet [regarding this]," he added.

The minister, in recent weeks, took to social media to express frustration at the country's ailing economy, warning of "dire consequences" and that it would be "game over" if "deep structural economic reforms" were not effected.

The country would be downgraded to junk status, he added.

Shortly thereafter, he again took to Twitter to criticise a resolution to nationalise the SA Reserve Bank, after which the ruling ANC called on senior members to avoid using public platforms to contradict the party line.

Speaking at Davos, Mboweni said there was "encouraging" progress. However, he flagged several key areas that required work.

First and foremost, he said unnecessary red tape was causing South Africa to lag behind in the ICT sector.

"We are losing time," he said on the release of spectrum. "China is already talking about moving to 6G… It is a key issue for #datamustfall. 

"Business and economics thrive through communication. That's key. That is one of the issues of inertia."

He further flagged red tape holding back the effective use of harbours and ports, as well as the importing of critical skills.

"The immediate issues that must be handled are transport of comms [and] the importance of going to the world and grabbing the know-how," he said.

"Structural reforms don't take place in one months to two months – they are a process. But I can tell you the train is moving, and it is quite encouraging."

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