President Jacob Zuma’s frank assessment of the country’s economy,
as well as the interventions he outlined in the State of the Nation Address (SoNA), signals decisive leadership, says Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Speaking to PSM shortly after the President delivered the SoNA in the National Assembly, the Minister was confident that the economic interventions announced by the President, Ministers give SoNA
coupled with the Budget speech, would be enough to shield the country from losing its investment grade status.
Minister Gordhan pointed out that the interventions outlined in the SoNA were just the start. “It is a beginning of a process,
and when you combine what the President had to say and what is in the Budget … we should be able to keep ourselves on the right side of the grading ratings agencies,” he added.
The Minister pointed out there was a need for all sectors of the economy to speak with one voice and market the country to attract investment.
“The important signal is that … before [the World Economic Forum in] Davos and after Davos, we have been making every effort to partner with the business sector; Ministers give SoNA
to get an understanding with trade unions as well, and basically send a message to all of South Africa that we are in this together.
‘It is not just government’s job to save the ratings.
If we want to improve the investment climate, all of us need to talk positively about South Africa and work as one team.
I think the President gave important leadership today,” he said. Giving his take on the SoNA, Trade
and Industry Minister Rob Davies said that the President’s assessment of the turbulent times ahead was accurate
and that it helped government to implement the appropriate plans of action to deal with economic challenges.
“I think the President painted the picture of the headwinds that we are going to face. He also said we have to build on the things we can fix and can influence.
“I think it was a fairly substantial programme of cutting of frills and wasteful expenditure that was announced.”
The Minister noted that the President’s SoNA also reflected on developments with regard to the Nine-Point Plan.
“I think there was progress in relation to the Nine-Point Plan; progress in some of the valueadded activities; progress in the mineral beneficiation … and progress in the agriculture and the processing value chains.
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