Government is committed to removing policy impediments and will improve the ease of doing business in a bid to attract more investment and boost economic growth, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.
“In discussions with business, government has committed to remove the policy impediments and accelerate implementation of these projects,” Ramaphosa said during the State of the Nation Address (Sona) in parliament.
“We are urgently working on a set of priority reforms to improve the ease of doing business by consolidating and streamlining regulatory processes, automating permit and other applications, and reducing the cost of compliance.”
In the previous Sona, government set aside R100 billion to seed the Infrastructure Fund. On Thursday, Ramaphosa announced that economic transformation and job creation would be priority number one for his administration.
Ramaphosa said infrastructure is a critical area of investment that supports structural transformation, growth and job creation.
“It is essential to our economic rejuvenation, to giving meaning and effect to our new dawn. Our new approach to infrastructure development is based on stronger partnerships between the public and private sectors, and with local communities,” he said.
“It includes a special package of financial and institutional measures to boost construction and prioritise water infrastructure, roads and student accommodation through a more efficient use of budgeted money.
“We are working to institutionalise the fund, which will be managed by the Development Bank of Southern Africa, with the newly configured Department of Public Works and Infrastructure playing an oversight role.”
Ramaphosa said that government has been in consultation with private investors, such as pension funds, who are enthusiastic about participating in the infrastructure fund.
The construction industry is one of three sectors currently in recession as the South African economy slumped sharply in the first three months of 2019, contracting by 3.2 percent.
“These reforms will ensure better planning of infrastructure projects, rigorous feasibility and preparatory work, improved strategic management, impeccable execution and better governance. This will provide a much-need boost to the construction sector,” Ramaphosa said.
– African News Agency (ANA)