Zuma: We will leave no stone unturned to prevent downgrade

Feb 18 2016 15:17
Liesl Peyper

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma assured South Africans that this time around the National Development Plan (NDP) would be implemented – some four years after it was initially introduced.

“I assure you we are implementing the NDP. And I’m happy that this time around we’re coming together as business, government and labour to agree on the things that will take South Africa forward,” Zuma said in reply to the debate on his State of the Nation address delivered last week.

Zuma emphasised that the implementation of the NDP remains the “cornerstone” of the economy. “It provides a basis for collective actions to stabilise our economy, raise investment and return South Africa to a path of inclusive economic growth.”

The NDP will be broken up in subsectors, such as water, energy, food security, spatial planning and public transport, each with outcomes in the next five years.

Zuma further acknowledged that a possible ratings downgrade is a very real threat and that government should leave no stone unturned to prevent it from happening.

Passing power to Gordhan

The meetings he and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan had with business leaders will become a regular phenomenon, Zuma said. “We’re happy with the support of business – they’re a key stakeholder. We’ve met four times since January and the partnership is yielding results.”

He said he’s heard the business sector’s concerns, including the need to better govern state-owned enterprises, public/private partnerships, improved labour relations and infrastructure development.

Zuma’s next meeting with business leaders will take place in May after the World Economic Forum on Africa convention in Kigali, Rwanda.

The president’s utterances indicated that he would allow Gordhan to crack the fiscal whip when he presents his budget speech next week Wednesday. “There will be stronger measures to restore a sustainable fiscal path and it has been endorsed at the highest levels of government,” Zuma said.

“Our position is that since we cannot change the global economic outlook we can still focus on correcting the domestic circumstances that have affected confidence in our economy.”

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