Budget 2021

Gordhan hailed as ExCon fall away

Johannesburg - While changes in the Exchange controls (ExCon) regime have been met with a muted response, there are some positives to take away for both retail and institutional investors who have praised Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan for putting in place the right processes to stimulate business.
On Wednesday, Gordhan announced that South Africans would now be able to move R4m out of the country each year as opposed to a R4m lifetime limit.
"Effectively exchange controls for individuals have been abolished," said Braam Jordaan from the FirstRand Alternative Investment Management (FRAIM) group.

Michael Jordaan, CEO of First National Bank (FNB) commented on micro-blogging site Twitter: "Individuals can now take R4m out of SA every year. Not many people have that type of cash. Effectively this dismantles ExCon. Positive."
For the hedge fund and pension industries Jordaan says he is still awaiting further clarity, however he was upbeat about the framework that was being put in place by the minister.
"People should remember that the constraint was not just about getting money out of the country, but getting money in as well," he said.
The structures being put in place by Gordhan were also praised by Francois Du Plessis from asset management firm Vega Capital who told Fin24.com: "You must remember where Gordhan comes from [the SA Revenue Services] and then you will understand why he is focusing a lot on processes and procedures," he said.
His view was shared by JP Fourie, the CEO of the South African Venture Capital Association (Savca) who was positive on the budget and its impact on the local private equity and venture capital markets.
He pointed out that the finance ministry had been showing an increased willingness to create a framework in which both local and foreign investors could participate in deals. He said that Savca and other industry partners had been engaging regulatory authorities for the last few years, but there had been an increased impetus since February this year and this was a positive.
"It most definitely makes South Africa attractive as a destination to domicile funds and makes it easier for investors to make deals into Africa and it also puts us on a more even footing with the likes of Mauritius and Botswana," he said.
Brett Commaille from venture capital firm InVenfin also praised regulatory authorities including the Reserve Bank for their willingness to make deals work.
He pointed to the arrival of PayPal to the country earlier this year as a sign that the government was serious about helping businesses participate in the global economy and facilitate trade between local and international businesses.
"The Reserve Bank guys have been very willing and helpful in our experience," he said.
Commaille said that many South Africans continued to have the mindset that if exchange controls were to be dropped completely, there would be a flight of capital out of the country, but argued that if the operating environment remained stable then there would be no reason for capital to flow out.
- Fin24.com

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