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Standard Bank's policy list to help SA economy on growth path

Dec 22 2017 10:02
Jan Cronje

Cape Town - Standard Bank said that for South Africa to reverse its economic decline, it urgently needs far-reaching structural reform.

The bank was commenting on what it believed the ANC’s economic direction should be after the party wrapped up its 54th National Conference at Nasrec in Johannesburg in the early hours of Thursday morning. 

Standard Bank focused on six broad economic policies that it said would help set SA on a path to “more inclusive and more rapid growth”.

These included reinforcing the rule of law to ensure that authorities take “quick and decisive action” against public and private sector corruption, halting the rise of SA’s fiscal deficit, and improving corporate governance at state-owned enterprises. 

To improve the state of SA's finances, it said the country’s tax revenue collection capacity must be bolstered, and the sum of the state’s contingent liabilities reduced. 

According to October's mini budget, SA’s budget deficit is expected to rise to 4.3% of GDP in 2017/2018. The SA Revenue Service (SARS), meanwhile, has identified a R50bn shortfall in its revenue forecasts.

Land reform and free education 

Standard Bank also called on the ANC to modernise regulatory environments,  “clarify rural property rights and accelerate land reform”, and find what it termed a “sustainable system” for financing free tertiary education.

The last two points refer to two of the conference's major policy outcomes.

Free tertiary education for poor and working class students was announced by President Jacob Zuma at the start of the conference, while expropriation of land without compensation was given the party's rubber stamp on the last day.  

The ANC’s post conference declaration noted expropriation policy should be pursued “without destabilising the agricultural sector”, endangering food security or undermining economic growth and job creation.

The party also said it was committing to the people of South Africa "that we shall isolate and root out corrupt tendencies in the public and private sectors”.

Standard Bank said that as the ANC was SA's governing party, its economic policies would “largely determine whether more inclusive and more rapid growth will be possible - or whether our economy will continue to stagnate”.

“As a leading contributor to the economic development of our country, Standard Bank has a right and a duty to argue for policies and approaches to governance that will reverse South Africa’s economic decline,” it said.  

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