SOUTH AFRICA POSITIONS ITSELF TO ATTRACT INVESTMENT

PRETORIA-- President Cyril Ramaphosa says government has prioritised several key reforms aimed at attracting investment into minerals and petroleum exploration, tourism and agriculture.

The President said this during a question and answer session in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

ANC MP Bhekizizwe Radebe had asked the President what government would do differently -- in light of his announcement of the stimulus package that highlights the setting up of an Infrastructure Fund -- to attract investment in these sectors.

Government has prioritised a number of key reforms in these sectors to ensure policy certainty.

The revised Mining Charter has been finalised. This is the outcome of extensive and meaningful consultation between government, community, labour and business, and it represents evidence of our commitment to solving the challenges in the sector collaboratively, President Ramaphosa said.

In agriculture, the President said government will finalise the signing of 30-year leases to enable farmers to mobilise funding for agricultural development.

These are among the areas where progress is being made to remove all the obstacles to increased investment and to make more effective use of our public resources to promote growth and job creation, he said.

The President said the economic stimulus and recovery plan announced on 21 September outlined decisive steps to rebuild investor confidence and mobilise investment to unlock the growth potential of the South African economy.

He said the plan recognises that infrastructure expansion and maintenance is a critical driver of economic activity and has the potential to create a large number of jobs.

Government is setting up an Infrastructure Fund to manage its infrastructure expenditure, which has been budgeted at R400 billion over the MTEF [medium term expenditure framework] period, and to focus on more effective execution.

In addition to this budgeted funding, State-owned enterprises will continue to invest in new energy, transport and water infrastructure.

Government eyes key partnerships with private sector

The President said, meanwhile, that government is looking at building meaningful partnerships with the private sector to design the Infrastructure Fund and oversee project implementation.

The Infrastructure Fund is aimed at reducing fragmentation in infrastructure spend and will work with the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission to strengthen coordination and improve delivery.

We will draw on individuals with a range of experience in the delivery of large projects, including established project management and engineering expertise.

The Infrastructure Fund will develop a strong pipeline of bankable projects, improve project design, prioritise projects effectively and strengthen the capacity of existing institutions tasked with project implementation.

National Treasury is exploring the possibility of establishing blended concessional finance solutions to mobilise private and public sector funding, the President said.

He said opportunities to draw institutional investors, including pension funds, into infrastructure spending is also being explored.

We will draw on the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Committee (PICC), Government Technical Advisory Centre, the Development Bank of Southern Africa and others to provide technical assistance at project development and oversight stage.

Both the economic stimulus and recovery plan and the framework agreement adopted at the recent Presidential Jobs Summit identified agriculture, mining and tourism as sectors with significant potential for job creation.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK