We hope the Treasury’s economic strategy paper is the start of a national debate
The National Treasury’s paper, Economic transformation, inclusive growth, and competitiveness: Towards an economic strategy for South Africa, shows a welcome shift in the thinking of a government which recognises its own limitations.
The Treasury published the paper for public comment until 15 September. OUTA’s submission to the Treasury welcomes the debate and much of the paper’s content, calling it a good basis for further discussions.
“This policy discussion may be an important step towards redesigning our economy in an inclusive way. Repeated promises to bring about radical economic transformation have been made, yet little public engagement has been facilitated by government to shape economic reforms that are imbued by the people and for the people,” says OUTA’s submission.
“There is much to welcome in this strategy paper. For example, suggestions for simple, competitive and incentivising economic mechanisms such as lowering the cost of doing business and freeing up finance for SMMEs owned by new, historically disadvantaged entrepreneurs. Also, embracing renewable energy sector formalisation and allowing households to sell self-generated electricity, and more impactful public spending in labour-intensive sectors that have real potential for growth if properly supported and secured as in agriculture, manufacturing and tourism.”
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) welcomed the paper’s emphasis on a capable state that must be supported by a new compact between the government, private sector, and other social partners such as academia and civil society.
“The capability of the public sector to effectively and affordably deliver crucial services to ordinary South Africans has been eroded to an alarming extent. Trust in public officials’ ability and willingness to deliver much-needed services has also been virtually wiped out. This jeopardises tax morality and contributes to widespread social pathologies and unrest,” says the OUTA submission.
“The reconstruction of accountability mechanisms that transcend party politics is essential for the implementation of any transformative growth.”