Policies President Zuma Should Consider in his State of the Nations Address on February 12th 2015

2015-02-10 06:17

President Zuma will give his annual State of the nation address on February 12. Sunburst Africa experts identified nine policies areas that the president should consider for his 2015 address among other things. Subscribe for Free Sunburst Articles

  1. Advance economic freedom and opportunity for all.It’s time to restore South Africa’s economic freedom. As documented in the Index of Economic Freedom, South Africa has becomemuch less free economically since 2009, with much-needed job-creating entrepreneurial growth constrained by government interference and a disturbing trend toward cronyism. As South Africans more than ever look to their future with growing frustration, 2015 should be the year of action to put South Africa back on the path to freedom and revitalize its entrepreneurial pulse.Bottom of Form
  2. Promote trade and prosperity.President Zuma should announce his intent to conclude trade agreements thatreduce barriers to international trade and investment. Trade agreements must promote economic freedom – not big government. There is need to improve trading relations with various African countries and other global trading partners.
  3. Improve small and start-up businesses’ access to the capital needed to grow and create jobs.There is need to implement the NDP especially the portions that speak to creating 5 million jobs by 2019. There is need toreduce costly bureaucratic constraints faced by small and start-up businesses seeking to raise capital. Specifically, reduce regulatory burden on small businesses, tax simplification, and improved and more transparent business development support in line with the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Policies.

  1. Recognise that the RDP housing project is not sustainable.  Since the stat of the RDP housing project billions of rands have been used and millions of houses built for previously disadvantaged people. The Zuma administration has continued to build RDP houses over the years and providing shelter to millions of South African. However, the number of applicants continue to grow and the project has over and above operational issues, created a dependency on government attitude.  It is time to admit that the RDP Housing Project will soon come to an end and to consider better ways to truly empower South Africans.
  2. Make business tax reform an explicit priority.South African families struggling to get ahead during this ongoing weak economic recovery need the stronger growth that basic tax reform would provide. Unfortunately, sign are that there will be tax increases at the end of the month when finance minister tables his budget speech in parliament. South Africa has high tax rates compared to most BRICS nations. It will be prudent for the president and his administration to consider better ways of raising government revenue that will not impact on the growth of businesses and job creation through high taxation.

  1. Energy: Restructure ESKOM. ESKOM was set up to generate and provide cost effective electricity to both industrial and domestic consumers across South Africa. The current crisis at the national power generator- ESKOM, is one of the biggest problems facing South Africa and the president need to address this in a way that will improve both investor and consumer confidence in the country. Without energy South Africa cannot attain its desired growth levels. There is urgent need for clarity on energy to be made by the president and to ensure sustainable energy supply to meet the needs of the country.

  1. Take steps to brighten economic future for South Africa’s “born free”. Zuma’s recent efforts to help the “born frees” through employment subsidy are welcome. However, the impact of such policy on sustainable job creation is yet to be fully analysed. Young South Africans, are the most disadvantaged in the job market because they mostly lack the required experience. A majority of these are blacks and make up more than 70 percent of the unemployed. It is time to take bold steps to improve youth entrepreneurship and access to finance work better for the youths.

  1. Reform welfare to encourage work. Zuma should address the importance of reforming welfare to encourage work. Over 15 million people currently depend directly on one form or the other government grant. This is surely not sustainable in a country with less than 15 million formally employed people. Welfare should be reformed to promote self-sufficiency, making it a requirement that able-bodied adults work, prepare for work or look for work in exchange for receiving assistance. Not only does a work requirement promote self-sufficiency, but it also helps ensure welfare assistance goes to those truly in need. Able bodied parents of dependent children should prepare for work or look for work.
  2. Fix Education, The Zuma government must continue to reform the education system to reduce the number of unemployed graduates. Issues of quality in education and ensuring that the education system meeds the needs of industry must be addressed. Higher education finance remains a challenge and alternative sources of funding needs to be identified. Skills training institutions need to become more effective in addressing the skills needs.

As South Africa awaits the state of the nation address on the 12th of February 2015, it will be prudent for the government to come out with bold statements that can reverse the patterns of declined economic growth and ensure a better life for all.

Visit www.sunburstafrica.co.za , follow me on twitter #vivian atud, or email: info@atudandassociates.

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