What to expect from the president’s stimulus package
The eagerly awaited stimulus package — to be announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday — will include the new Mining Charter, far-reaching changes to tourist regulations, an infrastructure investment plan and the development of industrial parks and township businesses, among other things.
A large government infrastructure fund, which will leverage private-sector resources and expertise in implementing infrastructure projects is at the core of the package. It is also expected to include economic reforms in the telecommunications and transport sectors.
The president will hold a media briefing to disclose how the government proposes to reignite the economy, which went into a recession in the second quarter. The government hopes investor confidence will be boosted by its investment drive and the policy certainty provided by the package.
The stimulus package is also expected to include investment in the infrastructure of SA’s 26 industrial parks.
Another aspect to the package is to boost township economies through entrepreneurial incentives and localisation.
The package was approved on Wednesday by cabinet, which has also endorsed the approach adopted by mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe to withdraw the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill, which has been snarled up for months in a prolonged parliamentary process.
The package has contributions from various departments and is expected to be funded through the reprioritisation of spending within the state’s existing expenditure envelope.
In constructing the package, Ramaphosa met with business leaders, special investment envoys and the CEO Initiative.
"The meeting agreed that SA’s economic recovery demands urgent implementation of the stimulus package and promised growth-enhancing reforms. Proposals were also discussed to establish an infrastructure-development initiative that draws in private-sector funding and delivery expertise," communications minister Nomvula Mokonyane said at a post-cabinet media briefing on Thursday.
"Cabinet also received a joint report from the ministers of home affairs and tourism respectively, on a number of visa-related reforms which will make it easier for tourists, business people and academia to come to SA. The reforms include amendments to the regulations applying to foreign minors travelling to SA, which will be gazetted in October.
"Negotiations on visa waivers and relaxation of visa requirements for certain countries are also being finalised."
Changes to the visa rules governing children, scarce skills and turnaround times are part of the "complete overhaul" of the visa system envisaged by the government to support the tourism sector. Tourism, which accounts for about a tenth of the economy and employs about 1.6-million people, is a major impetus for growth and job creation. The government says the visa regime has to be clearer to enable investment and admission of people with scarce skills.