Stimulating Cyril

President Cyril Ramaphosa

By John Fraser

They kept journalists outside for a while as they were preparing for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of his new stimulus package. Was it so they could install the smoke and mirrors?

While it may be fun to go for kinky stimulation with both hands handcuffed behind your back, it is more difficult to kick-start an ailing economy without much cash to help you.

We were told there will be R50bn, taken from underperforming programms and focused on agriculture, the township economy and rural areas.

The IDC is being told to boost its spending by 20%. There was talk of helping the ailing clothing and textiles sector.

The other big spending mechanism will be a R400bn Infrastructure Fund, with cash coming from several sources, including pension funds and bonds.

Said the President: “The private sector will be invited to enter into meaningful partnerships with government in this fund.

“The contribution from the fiscus towards the Infrastructure Fund over the medium-term expenditure framework period would be in excess of R400 billion, which we will use to leverage additional resources from developmental finance institutions, multilateral development banks, and private lenders and investors.”

There will also be efforts to improve the efficiency of municipalities, to relax visa red tape, to open up the spectrum so data becomes cheaper. The new Mining Charter was also described as a stimulating measure, although this might not be the view of all in the mining industry.

The President said the success of his new stimulus package can be measured in higher growth and more jobs.

We shall see.

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