SONA address uninspiring: Agbiz
Ernest Mabuza | 2017-02-10 10:23:22.0
Agbiz CEO John Purchase
Image by: Sunday Times
Concerns exist whether a sound‚ cohesive and comprehensive economic strategy exists to address the key challenges the country faces‚ Agbiz said on Friday.
The association of agribusinesses was commenting on the state of the nation address by President Jacob Zuma on Thursday‚ which said it said was not inspiring.
Before the address‚ there had been pronouncements on the expropriation of 70% of South Africa’s land‚ as well as pronouncements on “radical economic transformation” which had created considerable uncertainty in the agribusiness sector.
“By better defining ‘radical socio-economic transformation’‚ and that it will by and large be driven within the existing legislative framework‚ is useful and at least a good starting point for further engagement‚” Agbiz CEO John Purchase said.
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Purchase said the assurance by Zuma that land reform would be conducted within the ambit of the constitution‚ was also a good point of departure.
However‚ Agbiz said in terms of the necessary structural changes to put the economy of the country on a 4-6% growth rate path over the next couple of years‚ it saw very little in address in terms of substantive and innovative measures.
“To the contrary‚ the more government intervenes and ‘plays’ in the economy‚ as is its stated intention in the SONA‚ the more private sector investment will be shy and seek alternative opportunities. He said that while smart incentives and support measures could provide an impetus to inclusive growth‚ these would need to be well thought through‚” Purchase said.
Agbiz said it was in full support of sustainable transformation.
However‚ there was also a general concern that the government’s intention to utilise the strategic levers of state – as stated in SONA – would ultimately lead to over-regulation in the sector‚ which in turn‚ would negatively impact on private sector investment and compromise food security in the medium to long term.
– TMG Digital