The CEO Initiative believes that the Budget Speech is an opportunity to present measures that South Africa needs to be more investor-friendly. Photo: Sumaya Hisham/Reuters

DURBAN - The CEO Initiative believes that tomorrow's Budget Speech is a crucial opportunity to present credible and tangible measures – with a particular focus on delivery and execution – that South Africa needs to be substantially more investor-friendly, growth-orientated and fiscally resilient in the face of serious economic and social challenges.

According to the initiative, they have been very supportive of the visible commitment during President Ramaphosa’s tenure to galvanise government, labour and business to try and unlock growth. They are also encouraged by the efforts to transparently unpack and stem the systemic capture and incapacitation of key national institutions and state-owned enterprises (SOEs). 

The positive tone of, as well as the focus points that the President outlined in his State of the Nation Address (SONA), contribute towards rebuilding our special country as a place in which all South Africans can thrive.

It is vital that government now moves from talking and starts to take firm and practical action to address these issues: the national fiscal position, as well as the stubborn and dangerously low economic growth rates do not allow room for any other course of action.

The CEO Initiative believes the Budget should clearly demonstrate government’s commitment to fiscal discipline, in addition to addressing the key structural issues and major risks preventing the economy from performing optimally. The country particularly needs clarity on the plans to incentivise and fund accelerated growth and employment, especially in light of growing social pressures.

With this in mind, the CEO Initiative looks to the Budget to provide firm detail on:

1. The true state of the national fiscal position, including the capacity of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) to collect tax in a fair and transparent manner;
2. Measures for increasing fiscal discipline and accelerating reductions in the unsustainable level of the fiscal deficit, including plans for reducing the public sector wage bill and halting the escalating contingent liabilities of SOEs;
3. Tangible plans for holding public sector officials accountable for the delivery of their mandates;
4. Details of exactly how and when government will deliver on its promise to improve the investment environment by addressing policy, legal, regulatory and administrative barriers; 
5. Growth-enhancing reforms and details of which investments to promote growth will be prioritised by the government, and how exactly this is envisaged;
6. Educational improvements – and specifically early childhood development – and how these will be funded, as the country needs a properly educated citizenry in order to build a competitive and growing economy; and
7. How key institutions such as the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will be capacitated, to ensure that those accused of wrongdoing are swiftly held accountable, since this is a foundational element of rebuilding public trust.

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