PRETORIA TO PROMOTE GREATER PRIVATE SECTOR INVESTMENT

The South African government is working hard to promote greater private sector investment in a range of sectors, according to the National Treasury.

“Expanded investment by the private sector will improve productive capacity and grow the economy. Tackling corruption will discourage rent-seeking, lower transaction costs, reduce uncertainty, and prevent the wastage of both public and private resources,” the Treasury said in a statement released in conjunction with the tabling of the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) in Parliament here Wednesday by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

It added that initiatives underway to encourage private sector investment included:

* Easing the regulatory burden and making it easier to invest. InvestSA has set up a one-stop shop to help investors with the procedures required to start up and run a business;

* Reducing time spent on compliance and paperwork. As a result of increased automation at the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, it now takes less than a day to register a firm. Title deeds are now available within seven days at the Deeds Office. And the Department of Justice has streamlined contract enforcement, introducing court mediation to reduce legal costs;

* Strengthening competition law. Sections of the Competition Amendment Act that came into effect earlier this year makes it a criminal offence for directors or managers of a firm to collude with their competitors to fix prices or collude in tenders. This should reduce prices and increase market access; and

* Enhancing the environment for small business. The Department of Small Business Development is updating legislation to improve support for small businesses. Government has targeted support to small firms, and is encouraging large businesses to contract more work from small companies.

The initiatives come after President Jacob Zuma convened a meeting with chief executives of top companies on Feb 9, 2016 ahead of his State of the Nation Address earlier this year.

The Treasury said the government’s approach had begun to yield greater private investment in several areas, notably in the successful Independent Power Producer (IPP) programme.

“In addition, automotive assembly firms have pledged investments of 15.4 billion Rand (one US dollar = about 13.88 Rand), which would create an estimated 4,675 jobs,” the Treasury said. “In June 2016, the Centre for High Performance Computing launched the first petascale computing system on the African continent.

“Construction of the 64-dish Meerkat radio telescope array in the Karoo is due to be completed by the end of 2017. Public and private investment totalling 17 billion Rand has been targeted towards the ‘oceans economy’ initiatives over the past two years, creating about 5,000 jobs.”

The National Treasury added that investments in this regard supported shipbuilding and training of marine engineers and artisans. Complementary efforts support both commercial agriculture and emerging farmers are currently underway.

Efforts to diversify markets, for example, have boosted apple exports to China by 77 per cent.

The recently signed Southern African Development Community (SADC) trade agreement with the European Union (EU) improves access to European markets for sugar, ethanol and wine.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK.