State’s so-called economic recovery plan rings hollow; Business not satisfied

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Business organisation Sakeliga says businesses in South Africa are not satisfied by the “economic recovery plan” presented by President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier today.

Piet le Roux, Sakeliga CEO, says “recovery cannot be based on continuing the state of disaster, and increasing taxes, government expenditure and government intervention. The ‘recovery plan’ is flawed in that it, once again, places Government at the heart of economic development – instead of reserving that space for the private sector. If anything, this is nothing more than a plan for expanding Government.”

“We note that the president played up support for this plan by NEDLAC and its ‘social partners’. If this is the case, it constitutes a gross dereliction of their duty to intimate to the president the true state of affairs – and how dire the stakes have become. The President is operating under a misapprehension if he believes that Business is likely to support this plan. If Government wants to avoid crisis, it needs to change course – not accelerate.”

Le Roux said he would “request confirmation from BUSA and Business for SA. These organisations have, recently, emphasised their relationships with Government, inside and outside of NEDLAC. The president repeatedly stated that these ‘social partners’ support the plan, but it is unthinkable that the plan could enjoy unqualified support from business groupings.”

Naturally, Sakeliga welcomes some aspects of the “recovery plan”, such as Government’s undertaking to accelerate administrative processes involved in the allocation of water, mining and other licenses. In a similar vein, easing restrictions on electricity production is of vital importance – but little has come of previous undertakings by Government in this regard.

Le Roux says these and other positive aspects were outliers, however – and far from adequate: “Where is the reform of the labour market, the abolishment of misguided legislation, an end to BEE, tax cuts, a reduction in the state’s wage bill, expansion of private sector employment and the liquidation of SOE’s?”