Finance Minister Tito Mboweni says he is confident that a round-table meeting he hosted with government officials, businesses people and academia will yield positive results.
The minister, who briefed the media earlier on Friday, says the colloquium will come up with policy proposals to raise the level of South Africa’s economic growth.
Mboweni says government will have to think out of the box if it wants to grow the economy.
The outcome of the colloquium will form the basis of economic policy proposals to be submitted to Cabinet for its consideration in the New Year.
Mboweni has convened a colloquium aimed at raising South Africa’s economic growth, which will see government bouncing policy proposals off economists from the private sector and academic institutions.
He says government now has to think out of the box to grow the economy.
Discussions will emphasise interventions in support of faster economic growth and ways of collecting revenue through SARS more effectively.
Mboweni says he is confident proposals suggested at the round-table will yield positive results.
“We wouldn’t have convened such a large number of bright people if we were not certain that something is going to come out of it. Something is going to come out of it. I don’t know what that thing is and it may be something for further conversations and in the nature of these things, a conversation never stops and certain actions need to be done in order to achieve certain results.”
Economists from the private sector and academic institutions, including two professors from Harvard University in the US, will also listen on to government’s policy proposals aimed at boosting South Africa’s economic growth.
“There are many proposals and one of the challenges when you invite so many people to write papers is that they will come with so many proposals, but our task is to see if they make sense or not and how to synthesize them into one coherent document at some stage. Ministers, I didn’t want too many of them. I don’t want a cabinet meeting here and that is why I invited only two ministers. And if you have too many cabinet ministers in a meeting like this, you lose the sense of the colloquium and cabinet ministers will get their own in January.”
Government says implementation of the proposed policies will be critical in the coming months.
“My job is to organise a conversation and that conversation should conclude in any way it could and we will make available recommendation’s to the cabinet and its up to the leadership of the country to make sure that they implement what they want to implement. They might not implement everything. If, for instance, you are recommending that the number of hours must be increased, I don’t think that would run in South Africa at all. It won’t run. So not all recommendation’s that we make here might find common ground with the broad perspective of the government. And also we have to dump the expectations of the academics a little bit. Not all they say sometimes is correct.”
The minister says there is not one economic pathway for growth, but various ways to grow an economy which government should look at. While the country is no longer in recession, the country’s economic growth projections remain poor.
GDP is expected to grow at between 0. 5% and 0.8% this year.
Mboweni says he hopes they will continue to engage with a wider cross section of business leaders and academia to find lasting solutions to resolve economic challenges facing the country.
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