Agriculture likely to get assistance from stimulus package - Mabuza

Deputy President David Mabuza told the National Council of Provinces in Parliament that while government’s stimulus package was still a work in progress, it was likely to give a boost to the agriculture sector. 

His replies came days after data emerged showing that the South African economy contracted by 0.7% in the second quarter from a revised 2.6% contraction in the first quarter, plunging South Africa into a fresh technical recession.

Earlier on Thursday, Minister of Communications Nomvula Mokonyane said although sectors of the economy like mining, construction and finance recorded an improvement in growth, this could not offset the contraction in sectors like agriculture.

Mabuza said while the stimulus package announced by government was still to be confirmed and later announced, it was likely that it would offer a boost to the agriculture sector.

"There are a number of sectors that government is targeting as it plans its stimulus package. These include agriculture. The agriculture [sector] should be stimulated to produce more. In the latest reported quarter, it is agriculture that dragged other sectors down," Mabuza said.

Government is also considering interventions to assist in softening the blow of a series of fuel price increases and a one percentage point increase to value added tax announced by former finance minister Malusi Gigaba in his budget speech earlier this year.

Mabuza praised Energy Minister Jeff Radebe for keeping the fuel price unchanged earlier this week and, therefore, offering a buffer for consumers in an environment where the cost of living was continuously rising.

"There are various external challenges that inform this problem. The ministers of energy and finance assisted with the matter. The minister told the energy committee in August that there was a team that had come up with proposals on how to address the situation," said Mabuza.

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