Economic Development Budget Vote: Debate 28
By Narend Singh MP



National Assembly, 12th April 2011

Honourable Chairperson:

The aftershocks of the recent recessionary period have by necessity caused governments to prioritize economic development and placed this at the forefront of government policies the world over.

South Africa, arguably the economic powerhouse of the continent, experienced an unprecedented 15 years or 62 quarters of uninterrupted economic growth before the recession. We are the most infra-structurally sound country on the continent of Africa, we have an abundance of mineral wealth as well as a highly developed financial sector and a world class legal framework. In addition we have just become a member of BRICS, and as such are perfectly poised for rapid economic growth.

In South Africa, we have a substantial amount of Small and medium sized enterprises, which the IFP believe are potentially the largest generators of sustainable economic growth. SME's, their establishment and growth must be encouraged and assisted by government through favourable policy and finance measures. Continuing education for small business owners in the areas of business and accounting management should be offered in all major centres.

Academy's such as the one recently sponsored by Samsung Electronics, the Samsung Electronics Engineering Academy, which seeks to tackle the shortage of technical and engineering skills in this country, are also to be encouraged. Multi-National businesses have both an ethical and moral responsibility to their host nations to fund skills development programmes for the youth, the unemployed and the under-privileged. Samsung's goal of reaching out and impacting on 5 million lives by 2015 through such programmes is to be well commended.

The ten billion rand stimulus loan package unveiled by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) last month will certainly assist small businesses and as such foster economic growth and reduce unemployment. The IFP is particularly pleased that this finance will also be available to business "start-ups" as a culture of entrepreneurship needs to be encouraged by government.

As far as challenges to economic growth are concerned, the IFP is particularly concerned about the reliable supply of energy to our growing economy particularly in light of recent predictions of demand starting to outstrip supply. Incompetence is still rife at Eskom with recent breakdown of an R3bn 600 megawatt turbine, with the taxpayer as always having to foot the bill.

Unemployment, the highest it has ever been, is another key challenge to economic growth and this together with other debilitating social conditions such as HIV and poverty need to be addressed urgently and in a sustainable manner. We at the IFP believe that not enough is being done in this regard.

Service delivery protests in different parts of the country and the continuous cry by people that they are not being assisted sufficiently by government are cases in point.

Infrastructure grants not being fully utilized is both as shocking as it is criminal. It speaks volumes when an ANC APPOINTED Minister of Finance withholds allocations to each and every one of the 8 ANC run provinces because of their failures to spend their infrastructure grants correctly. 

Fact: The ANC-run provinces are being denied a combined sum of R2.47 Billion in infrastructure grants this financial year alone due to bad administration, planning and financial mismanagement. 

This is economic growth retardation of the worst kind because it is solely due to incompetent, inept and corrupt staff within provincial departments. 

In conclusion Mr Minister, the IFP want to see a year of quantifiable action. A year in which real economic growth takes place. We, as the IFP, have faith and wish you and your department all the best in transforming faith into reality.  

I thank you.

Narend Singh
IFP spokesperson on Finance
on 083 788 5954