Budget 2018 prioritising competitiveness - innovation expert

2018-02-22 18:54 - Carin Smith
Company patents. ~ Shutterstock

Cape Town - It was great to see in Budget 2018 that the government seems to be prioritising international competitiveness, according to Glenn Gillis of innovation company Sea Monster.

"There’s a real opportunity for us to compete globally with knowledge-intensive products. The creative industry specifically has demonstrated an ability to not only create jobs, but create real value locally and internationally and we think this is one sector of the economy that should be prioritised," said Gillis.
"Let’s build new interesting products that will work not only in SA, but hopefully around the world."
One way of driving change in behaviour, in his view, is to use the power of new digital media, to think about things like animation and games and mobile tech to really be able to offer people anywhere solutions to problems they might be having.

"This isn’t something that is going to be solved face to face or one intervention at a time. We need to get 20 million young people working and we need to use the power of digital tech, of storytelling of games as an example of ways that we can use innovative new ways to shift the future of this country at some scale,” he said.


Neil Robinson, CEO of social enterprise Relate Trust, said some of the things Budget 2018 are really good in theory. Now they must be executed properly.

“Some challenges in the budget are around the poor that will suffer because of the VAT increase and the fuel levy increase. I think the poor will feel it most. It’s vitally important that social enterprise endeavours grow over the next two or three years so that the elderly and the young coming out of school really get the chance to improve their lives, to earn money and to learn a skill," he said.

Trade union Solidarity, on the other hand, is not satisfied with Budget 2018.

According to Gerhard van Onselen, economics researcher at the Solidarity Research Institute, Budget 2018 would put a further damper on economic growth.

“There is no apparent deviation from the harmful ANC policy we have had to face for so many years. In fact, higher VAT and a higher fuel levy together with no real sign of a cut in government spending, in reality put the economy on a weaker footing,” Van Onselen said.

“It appears that this budget is a continuation of the pipe dreams built on debt,” concluded Van Onselen.

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