CAPE Town - South Africa’s economy might grow 2% or more this year if the government takes the right policy decisions, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said yesterday.
“The capacity of the South African economy’s growth levels far exceeds the targets that we have set ourselves,” Gigaba told a business gathering in East London.
“We can even grow at more than 2%.” The country’s economy slipped into recession in the first quarter of 2017, then recovered in the next two quarters, although it is expected to lag a global growth recovery, mainly because of policy and political uncertainty.
“There are certain decisions we need to take, and if we take them, the economy can exceed our expectations this year,” Gigaba said. S&P Global Ratings cut Pretoria’s local currency debt to “junk” status in December, citing a deterioration in the country’s economic outlook and public finances.
Moody’s placed South Africa on review for a downgrade.
The downgrades followed Gigaba’s maiden budget speech in October, where he announced a gap much larger than expected in revenues and cut the 2018 growth forecast to 1.1%.
In the budget, Gigaba also said the government was considering selling its stake in state companies to fund bailouts to Eskom and South African Airways.
Government bailouts to state firms total about R500 billion. “We need to ensure that Moody’s does not downgrade us in February this year,” Gigaba said.