JOHANNESBURG – Finance Minister Tito Mboweni's medium-term budget policy statement (MTBPS) on Wednesday was roundly welcomed by various business leaders in the tourism and property industries.
Mboweni said visa requirements would be eased to boost tourism and this will make it easier for people with skills to work in South Africa, and that 10-year multiple-entry visas will be extended to several countries.
Danny Bryer, director of sales at Protea Hotels by Marriott, said they were happy government again demonstrated its recognition of the valuable role that the tourism sector can play in the South African economy and in stimulating job creation in the country.
"The problematic visa regulations that have harmed the industry in the past are receiving attention, and the industry welcomes the news about the range of changes that could come about: an amendment to the regulations governing the entry of minors into the country; relooking the list of countries whose citizens require visas to enter the country; and the development of an e-visa platform," Bryer said.
"All these suggestions are encouraging: if we wish to see continued growth in the tourism sector, we must show the world that we are a country that is open for business."
Mboweni also announced that housing subsidies amounting to R1 billion will be centralised to help low- to middle income households access affordable home loans, which will result in more South Africans acquiring their own homes.
Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group, welcomed the announcement of R1 billion in housing subsidies, adding that the government's economic stimulus will have meaningful spin-offs for all, including the housing market.
"From a housing perspective, extremely welcome is the announcement of R1 billion in housing subsidies to help low to middle income households gain access to affordable home loans, to enable them to acquire their own homes and achieve security of tenure as well as a nest egg for the future," Golding said.
"Also positive is the R669 million to be invested over the medium term to revitalise government-owned industrial parks in township areas which will boost employment opportunities and hence ultimately local housing markets."
Mboweni committed government to fiscal sustainability, expenditure ceiling and debt stabilisation without introducing fiscal measures that could limit growth, and said that government will not implement any additional tax increases over the next three years, except a higher carbon tax rate.
African News Agency (ANA)