For South Africa to achieve the main goals in the government’s landmark National Development Plan (NDP), the economy would need to almost triple in size by 2030.
That is the word from the chairman of Business Leadership SA, Bobby Godsell, who was speaking at a Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry event in the city yesterday.
“The economy needs to be 2.7 times its current size if the NDP target to reduce unemployment from 25 percent today to six percent by 2030 is to be achieved,” said Godsell, who is also a member of the National Planning Commission, which developed the NDP under Planning Minister Trevor Manuel.
Gross domestic product came in at about R4.8 trillion last year, which meant that by 2030 it would need to be more than R12.8 trillion.
“This is not impossible, but we need support from all quarters, especially from the business sector. We need sustained growth of 5.4 percent on average over the next 17 years. We also need to increase savings levels and grow exports on average by 6 percent annually,” he added.
Godsell said that if the economy was to expand threefold it meant the private sector also needed to triple in size.
“Yes, there are many challenges that need to be addressed, but the economy has doubled in size since 1994, therefore the NDP target is achievable. The trick is to ensure that economic growth translates into employment and not jobless growth.”
Godsell said the government had never been more willing to listen to business on constraints that were holding the country back. The private sector needed to take responsibility in interacting with the government by identifying problems and finding solutions.
“This is a golden moment for business. In the 40 years that I’ve been in business and in the freedom struggle, there has never been a time when the private sector is so needed and recognised by politicians.
“The private sector has a significant role to play in delivering on the NDP, and this was cited in both President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation speech and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s Budget speech,” Godsell said.
He said the impetus for a vision and roadmap for growth and development came from the ANC’s Polokwane conference in 2007. Since then the National Planning Commission had produced a diagnostic report that took looked at the achievements and shortcomings since 1994.
“The NDP was revealed last year and has been embraced by every political party, the business sector, labour and civil society. The plan is not complete or perfect, but essentially asks every South African to play a positive role in the growth and development of the country,” Godsell said. - The Mercury