15 February 2013

South Africa: Sacci Reflects On the State of the Nation Address 2013

In a media statement released today, the CEO of the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (SACCI) Mr Neren Rau, said:

"We welcome:

The promotion of the NDP as the national long term plan and as hosting solutions to our immediate challenges

Acknowledgement that business faces many obstacles and that these must be removed if we are to accelerate economic growth

Acknowledgement that the partnership between government, business and labour as key to delivering solutions to SA's economic challenges

Infrastructure development broadly but the specific commitment to the Durban-Free State-Gauteng logistic and industrial corridor which would facilitate the movement of goods as well as the expansion of rail capacity to facilitate the movement of iron ore.

Commitment to fast-tracking PICC infrastructure projects this year

Youth employment incentives

Reiteration that the Nationalisation debate is laid to rest

The establishment of the Presidential Remuneration Commission to look at state remuneration especially for teachers

Increased capacity and performance of the SIU against corruption and fraud

The call on labour to exercise the right to protest in a peaceful and orderly manner and that any incidents of violent protest will acted upon, investigated and prosecuted in a prioritised manner

We would have like to have seen more on/ remain concerned about:

Programmes for supporting small business in addition to the enforcement of the 30 day payment rule as substantial work was done on this last year

Private sector role in infrastructure programmes

Support to the private sector for taking on the 11 000 youth who require experience

Although specific focus on maths, science and technology is welcomed, SACCI is concerned that there may be an overemphasis on the overall quantity of students passing with insufficient attention to the overall quality of education being delivered

How are the fast-tracked infrastructure programmes to be financed in times of economic and financial constraint

The intent behind the proposed study of tax policies which could have as a consequence a greater tax burden on the existing tax base, whereas the emphasis should be on expanding the tax base

Restoring both domestic and international business confidence in South Africa

Although the State President has committed government departments to some of the programmes outlined, government has, in recent times, been challenged in its ability to deliver on programmes. SACCI hopes that delivery on the commitments in the 2013 SONA will be reported on at least annually from this point forward."

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