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Economic Growth and Job Creation Under the Spotlight

August 23, 2019

The Presidency

23 August 2019

President Ramaphosa has updated parliament on steps taken to ignite economic growth in South Africa.

During replies to oral questions in the national assembly, the president “cited changes made to visa regulations for tourists and highly skilled professionals, financial support for black farmers and black industrialists and the upgrading and creation of industrial parks as evidence of government’s efforts to secure economic growth and deal with unemployment”.

Economic growth and job creation was confirmed as the top priority for the sixth administration.

Highlights mentioned included recent visa waivers by the home affairs department, a pending e-visa system, trade measures in place to safeguard key agricultural sectors such as the poultry industry, reduced port tariffs, R3.9bn released by the Land Bank to support black commercial farmers, the setting up of three new industrial parks, R600 million provisionally allocated to support rural and township entrepreneurs, the Employee Tax Incentive extended to 2029 to enable more employers to take advantage of its provisions to hire more young people and the signing of the Competition Amendment Act earlier this year to address economic concentration.

The president also indicated that further measures to reduce the fiscal deficit and debt ratios will be announced in the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement in October.

On land reform, the president declared that cabinet still needs to consider the findings and recommendations of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture, after which it will be able to pronounce on the implementation of the report.

At the end of July 2019, cabinet announced that ministers had been instructed to study the report and report back to cabinet in two months.

As regards National Health Insurance (NHI), the president reiterated that government was committed to implementing universal health coverage.

“The NHI Bill will be coming to Parliament and we hope this House will revolutionise health care delivery in our country – and in our lifetime,” he said.

The president confirmed that the NHI Fund will only contract with hospitals and clinics that meet international quality standards.

Measures will be undertaken to strengthen the health system as part of the NHI implementation process.

“We are focusing on improvements in human resources, access to medicines and vaccines, building and maintenance of infrastructure, and the quality, safety and quantity of health services,” he said.