Cape Town - Several developments will support more rapid growth over the next three years, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan says.
In his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS), tabled in Parliament, Gordhan said these included additional electricity supply, with Eskom's Medupi plant set to come on line late next year.
Others were increased investment in economic infrastructure, including rail, water, roads, ports and broadband communication; and, clear policy frameworks for new gas and oil exploration, improving South Africa's ability to meet its future energy requirements.
Business support programmes and special economic zones encouraged industrialisation and improved local competitiveness.
Urban planning had been improved and public transport was being made more efficient. Work was also under way to boost production and employment.
Initiatives to relieve energy supply constraints included:
* publication of draft regulations for shale gas exploration in October 2013, with a view to processing exploration applications in 2014;
* progressive implementation of the renewable energy independent power producer programme, now in its third round of contract awards;
* publication of blending regulations for biofuels, with pricing arrangements to be finalised by mid-2014;
* requests for proposals to procure the next coal-fired power station and for co-generation of electricity, to be issued by mid-2014; and,
* amendments to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act were being discussed in Parliament, and were aimed at reducing ambiguity, streamlining administration, clarifying governance concerns and encouraging beneficiation.
Initiatives to bolster employment and address scarce skills constraints included revision of regulations relating to the immigration of skilled workers, and drafting an employment tax incentive, now under consideration by Parliament.
Other steps to promote investment and lower the costs of doing business included centralising all steps to acquire mining licenses, including environmental approvals and water licences, within the mineral resources department.
The capacity of the competition authorities was being strengthened, a Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill to reinforce property rights had been drafted, and a bill to establish two new financial sector regulatory authorities would soon be submitted to Cabinet. - Sapa