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JOHANNESBURG - Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) members have employed 1.29 million people and contributed nearly R2 trillion to the struggling economy last year.

A report released by economic consultancy firm Quantec Research yesterday said that BLSA members created R1.9 trillion in direct output in 2016 and contributed nearly 36percent of the total domestic economic output compared to the government's 11.7%.

The report said BLSA members contributed 34% of the country’s GDP with 66.7% or nearly R1trln paid to suppliers, thus enabling them to employ people, pay taxes, purchase supplies and make investments.

The organisation, very vocal about the scourge of corruption and misappropriation of taxpayers’ money, created direct economic value worth R880 billion. It also received 34.4 points out of 40 points for black enterprise development prescribed by BEE codes.

With the country battling a revenue shortfall of R53bn, taxation to government from BLSA members alone amounted to more than R431bn in 2016, 35.9% of total taxes collected.

“That’s the equivalent of more than one million teachers’ salaries, or almost two million police officers, or almost 1.5million low-cost housing units,” the report said.

BLSA said their 57 member companies who contributed in the study by Quantec Research, contributed 23.5percent of total private sector employment and paid full-time and part-time employees just under R2trln.

A further R8.7bn was devoted to training and skills development for BLSA’s employees.

For every 100 people that were directly employed by the organisation’s members, another 153 indirect job opportunities were supported.

The report said it was clear from their footprint analysis that BLSA members played a “significant and vital part” in the country’s economy, the largest and most industrialised in Africa. BLSA chief executive Bonang Mohale said the report confirmed that business was a vibrant part of the economy.

“The footprint of BLSA’s members alone is notable - often bigger than that of government itself. It’s a reminder that business touches every part of South African life.” Mohale said business was committed to doing more to encourage inclusive economic growth and transformation.

“That is why earlier this year we launched our #BusinessBelieves campaign, where business made various commitments to society. The government must create the economic and policy conditions necessary for growth to occur, and then together business, government and civil society can work to put the South African economy back on track,” he said.

-BUSINESS REPORT