PRETORIA – President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday part of the R50 billion re-prioritised funding in government's stimulus and recovery plan would be directed towards investments in agriculture and economic activity in townships and rural areas.
Ramaphosa announced a "stimulus package" in a bid to reignite growth, stimulate economic recovery and secure confidence in sectors affected by regulatory uncertainty and inconsistency after the country entered a technical recession following two consecutive negative growth quarters in the second quarter.
Ramaphosa said the R50 billion stimulus plan consisted of a range of measures, both financial and non-financial, to be implemented immediately in a bid to ignite economic activity and encourage investment.
"The central element of the economic stimulus and recovery plan is the reprioritisation of spending towards activities that have the greatest impact on economic growth, domestic demand and job creation, with a particular emphasis on township and rural economies, women and youth," Ramaphosa said.
"Agriculture has massive potential for job creation in the immediate and long term. The interventions we have identified will include a package of support measures for black commercial farmers so as to, increase their entry into food value chains through access to infrastructure like abattoirs and feedlots."
Ramaphosa also said that government would mobilise blended finance from the Land Bank, Industrial Development Corporation and commercial banks, and that government would finalise the signing of 30-year leases to enable farmers to secure funding for agricultural development.
"The Land Bank is currently concluding transactions that will create employment opportunities in the agricultural sector over the next three to five years. A significant portion of the funding will go towards export-oriented crops that are highly labour intensive," he said.
"In the second instance, reprioritised funding will also be re-directed towards igniting economic activity in townships and rural areas. We have prioritised the revitalisation of three regional and 26 township industrial parks as catalysts for broader economic and industrial development in townships and rural areas.
Ramaphosa said that a township and rural entrepreneurship fund was being established to provide finance to either scale up existing projects or provide start-up capital for new projects. The reprioritisation of spending will take place within the current fiscal framework and in line with the normal budgetary process, Ramaphosa said.
– African News Agency (ANA)