NEDLAC to finalise South Africa’s economic recovery plan in 3 weeks

Cyril Ramaphosa. Image credit: Twitter/The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa

South Africa is set to have an economic recovery plan in the next three weeks following the establishment of a “high-level working team” at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) on Thursday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa chaired a NEDLAC Forum for Economic Recovery meeting where the agreement was reached, the Presidency said in a statement.

Consensus

NEDLAC consists of social partners drawn from the government, labour, business and community sectors. The partners are achieving consensus on “what to do to achieve economic recovery, transformation, inclusive growth and globally competitive economy.”

The Presidency added, “To deepen consensus and advance to action, NEDLAC constituencies will nominate senior leadership to serve on a team that will over the next three weeks draw up a set of priority actions for economic reconstruction and the institutional arrangements to support these actions.

“These arrangements will build on the foundation of the work done by social partners on implementing the agreements reached at the Presidential Job Summit in 2018 and will include transforming the current Presidential Working Committee on the Jobs Summit into a Presidential Working Committee on Economic Recovery.”

The working team’s priority areas include job creation, infrastructure and energy security. It will also develop a sectoral approach and make proposals on addressing bottlenecks to economic growth, including building a capable state.

“The team will present NEDLAC and the President with an economic recovery action plan that will be submitted to Cabinet for endorsement,” the Presidency said.

The NEDLAC Forum meeting follows Ramaphosa’s virtual meeting with members of his Presidential Economic Advisory Council on Wednesday where he received their contribution to “the work currently underway in government to finalise an economic reconstruction and recovery plan.”

Economic recovery proposals

Various plans have been put forward so far, including one released last month by the African National Congress (ANC) economic transformation committee led by Enoch Godongwana.

The plan suggested that South Africa’s pension funds could be “mobilised” to take over assets of struggling state-owned power utility Eskom. It also said South Africa’s monetary policies could do more to attract higher levels of investments and revive economic growth, which is projected to fall by around 7.2 percent in 2020.

Other proposals in the plan include establishing a state-owned bank, forming a state-owned pharmaceutical company and creating a special economic zone for renewable energy in Mpumalanga to save jobs as coal-fired power stations begin shutting down.

Business group Business for SA (B4SA) also released a proposal in July dubbed “A New Inclusive Economic Future for South Africa.” It prioritises 12 “key projects and initiatives” across 10 “high-impact” sectors to spur growth.

“There have also been 12 policy focus areas identified, which could increase GDP by over R1 trillion, generate 1.5 million jobs, and increase tax revenues by R100 billion per annum,” B4SA said.

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