Cape Town: The private sector and civil society should lend a helping hand to ensure that the country records economic growth that can create jobs, says Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Speaking to businessman and captains of industry at the AHI/Absip Breakfast dialogue on Thursday, Minister Gordhan said instead of labour and the private sector opting to blame the government for the country’s stagnant growth, they needed to also look into the mirror too and see how they can help in making the economy grow to levels of above 5%.
The Minister said this a day after tabling the 2014 Budget to Parliament on Wednesday.
Minister Gordhan anchored his budget – which has been welcomed by big business and labour federations – on achieving economic growth over the next five years to 20 years.
At the breakfast, he called on black and white businessmen to forge a partnership and start working together to realise the country’s economic goals.
“It is time for white business and black business to find each other to begin to build synergies between themselves and to become constructive players in the economy and in our society so that we can overcome some of the challenges as we go forward.
“So the missing piece in this [list] of initiatives that we have is leadership. Leadership from all of us, leadership of saying I recognise that there is a possibility of taking this country to a new level – a new level of growth, job creation, employment and a new level of a reduction in poverty and inequality.
“The question is can we find that kind of leadership in business, in labour, in government and in civil society that … can say we are prepared to put aside some of our vested interests … in order to run the country with a bold leadership that is needed.
“If we break that deadlock, then we have a possibility to move our country to the growth that we have not been able to reach,” he said.
Minister Gordhan told captains of industry that government was doing all it can to create an environment that will make it easy to do business by removing regulatory bottlenecks, restraints, reducing the business cost structure and offering incentives to small and medium enterprises to bolster entrepreneurship and job creation.
Meanwhile, Finance Deputy Minister Nhlanhla Nene, who also attended the event, said in response to a question that strengthening local government was key to service delivery and growth.
He said government would welcome assistance from the private sector through skills transfer on a consultation basis provided that the private sector did not charge excessively for its services.
SOURCE: South African Official News