Mboweni: Budget speech will focus on practical solutions to get SA going

2019-01-29 17:48 - Tehillah Niselow
City Press

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni says his maiden budget speech will focus on growth enhancing initiatives with practical solutions which "will get us going".

Mboweni, however, shook his head when pressed for more details of the upcoming speech on February 20, where he faces a juggling act with modest economic growth forecasts and rising debt.

He was speaking at a panel discussion at the Business Economic Indaba in Midrand on Tuesday, where he said the private sector should be willing, where possible, to send skilled people to government, but admitted this strategy has not always worked out in the past.

He emphasised that all civil servants should not be made to feel inefficient and incapable, saying he’s worked with many excellent government employees and the private sector is not the gold standard of efficiency.

"It’s not true the best skills reside in the private sector. I’ve been there, I know - there are a lot of inefficient people... and thieving," Mboweni said.

As an example of short-term practical solutions, he urged the business sector to provide engineers to work with local government so that when it rains, the roads don’t "become rivers", within the next three to four months.

Mboweni added the country should "have humility" and be open to high-skilled immigration from around the world to assist with adaptation to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.