Mboweni insists he hasn’t abandoned plans for state bank, sovereign wealth fund

Image credit: Flickr/GovernmentZA

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni says he has not abandoned plans to establish a state bank and sovereign wealth fund as well as his suggestion for the state to own 40% of all new mining companies.

Before becoming Finance Minister, Mboweni often encouraged the government to implement these policies as a matter of urgency.

In April 2018, he tweeted, “Dear God, open the eyes and ears of our leaders. Let them do four things: The State must own 40% of mining companies, start a State Bank, implement appropriate Land Use Planning and create a Sovereign Wealth Fund. What is so difficult? That is Radical Economic Transformation!!”

Masondo working on state bank establishment

However, some commentators have accused him of not implementing his own ideas since his appointment in October 2018.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, Mboweni reiterated that he still stood by them. He wrote, “On the State Bank, I have asked [Deputy Finance Minister] Dr David Masondo to lead the charge on this. He is on to it.

“On the Sovereign Fund, we are on to it from the Department of Mines and Energy and the Ministry of Finance.”

However, the maverick Minister cautioned that given South Africa’s “political economy history,” transformation “will take years to achieve.”

‘Not adventurous’

He added, “But we must move strategically and tactically, step by step, faulty and wobbly at times but movement forward. Gentle but firm.”

Mboweni maintained that the government will not implement these policies in an adventurous manner “as some would have us do.”

He also said he’s co-authoring a paper titled, “History, Race and Das Kapital in South Africa.”

“We hope to provide an academic and political contribution to a much needed debate and informative basis for an educated National conversation. Might influence policy decisions. A huge HOPE!” he added.

Mboweni is set to present the 2020 national budget in Parliament on 26 February. It’s unclear if he will make reference to these policies.

Earlier in January, he invited public input towards his budget, particularly on the question, “What can government do to achieve faster and more equitable economic growth?”

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