Sim Tshabalala, Standard Bank Group CEO
Sim Tshabalala, Standard Bank Group CEO

Executive surging rapid re-ignition of SA economy

By Siphelele Dludla Time of article published Jan 31, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - Standard Bank group chief executive Sim Tshabalala joined a growing number of top South African executives in urging the government to implement reforms to reignite economic growth.

Tshabalala, who heads Africa’s largest bank by assets, said yesterday that the economy could grow above 1percent if the government were to implement the National Treasury’s economic recovery plan.

“According to the National Treasury’s modelling, if this kind of scenario played out, South Africa might be able to grow about one percentage point faster - taking us from roughly 1 percent to roughly 2 percent by the end of the year,” Tshabalala told the Deloitte Alchemy Africa Outlook 2020 executive conference.

“The political barriers to achieving some of these reforms don't seem insurmountable, so I'm mildly optimistic that South Africa might grow a bit faster than predicted in 2020.”

The government has roundly adopted the Treasury’s plan, but Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has expressed frustration at the slow pace of its implementation.

The plan includes a resolution for troubled state-owned companies, and the introduction of multi-year multiple entry visas for business people, among others.

It also calls for completing a spectrum auction, holding a new round of procurement for independent power; making the regulatory changes needed to allow more self-generation of electricity by large firms, and improving the operational performance of Eskom.

But investors are still jittery over policy uncertainty in the land reform programme, lack of energy security and the independence of the SA Reserve Bank.

Tshabalala’s sentiment is shared by many business leaders, including Business Unity SA president Sipho Pityana, who this month urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to implement the structural reforms.

Moody’s says that its attitude towards the country's credit rating rests on Mboweni’s February 26 Budget.


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