Be bold, Manuel urges SA’s entrepreneurs

Although South Africa’s economic growth rate of an average of 2,8% per annum in the period 1994 to last year was more than twice that of the developed world’s 1,3% average, this high growth was not sufficient to address the high unemployment rate in South Africa, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel said on Monday evening.

Addressing a seminar at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) on “The role of business leadership in driving growth in South Africa”, Manuel said four issues needed to be confronted by business leaders.

These four issues were: creating employment, productivity, diversifying manufacturing, and access to services such as banking and information.

“We have a trifurcated labour market where employment is declining in the old economic sectors such as farming and mining, only slow growth in the new economic sectors such as services and mixed growth in the informal sector. What

we need to do is bridge the gap between high-end job skills and no skills and it is for this reason that the skills development levy was introduced,” Manuel said.


He urged business people to become involved in skills training programmes and said they had to leave behind the pre-1994 mindset of a closed economy with minimal competition.

“We have success stories such as the move of motor manufacturers into export markets, but we need more business people to take the leap of faith and develop other niche markets,” Manuel said.

Referring to the mobile phone industry in South Africa, which started officially on April 1 1994 and now had 14-million subscribers with many world-first innovations such as the short message system to its credit, Manuel said this took place with minimal government intervention apart from setting up a regulatory environment.

“Not a very charming thought to us government officials that so much happens without us,” Manuel said.

One of things that government had done was to encourage competition and open

up the economy.

“Lack of competition dulls the senses and that is why we signed the Marrakech agreement and eliminated single channel marketing. That is why we no longer have a Milk Board, a Chicory Board and an Egg Board. We also made sure that we have macro-economic stability by meeting the fiscal criteria of the Maastricht Treaty and introduced inflation targeting. What we set out to do in government is to eliminate the obstacles to entrepreneurship and then let business people create jobs and wealth for us all. These leaders must be bold enough to take the leap of faith, yet capable of taking the micro decisions that affect us all,” Manuel said. – I-Net Bridge

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Mandela steals Zuma’s coronation

Nelson Mandela on Sunday proved he is still the giant of African politics when he made a surprise appearance at the ANC's final campaign rally.

SA February PPI seen steady at 5,5% y/y

South Africa's February 2005 producer price index (PPI) is expected to remain at January's 5,5% year-on-year (y/y) increase. According to an I-Net Bridge survey of economists, the range is from 4,9% y/y to 5,9% y/y. The optimists expect the stronger rand to have kept factory gate prices subdued, while the pessimists believe rising oil and other commodity prices will lead to higher producer prices.

SA nuclear firm awards design contract

The Pebble Bed Modular Reactor's (PBMR) fuel division announced on Wednesday that it had awarded a design contract worth R10,5-million to a South African design house, Thermtron Projects, in a crucial second step in the PBMR fuel manufacturing technology, to prove sustainability on an industrial scale.

Petrol price: Good news may be in store

The Department of Minerals and Energy could implement a retail petrol price cut of about 15 cents per litre (c/l) on March 1, given recent trends in both the rand exchange rate and oil prices, reversing the 14c/l increase implemented this month. The retail petrol price is adjusted monthly on the first Wednesday of the month.

Manuel tables conservative Budget

South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel on Wednesday tabled a conservative Budget, eschewing corporate and individual income tax rate cuts, even though the revenue over-run in the 2005/06 fiscal year is projected at R41-billion. Compared with last year's Budget, when the fiscal deficit to gross domestic product ratio was forecast to remain near 3% over the medium term, Manuel this year reduced that to the 1,5% level.

Petrol price could drop by 12 cents a litre

The Department of Minerals and Energy could implement a retail petrol-price cut of about 12 cents per litre (c/l) on March 1, given recent trends in both the rand exchange rate and oil prices. The retail petrol price is adjusted monthly on the first Wednesday of the month in accordance with the previous averaging period's over- or under-recovery.
Advertising

Jailed journalist a symbol of a disillusioned Zimbabwe

Hopewell Chin’ono backed President Emmerson Mnangagwa when he succeeded Robert Mugabe. Now he’s in jail

Sisulu axes another water board

Umgeni Water’s board in KwaZulu-Natal was appointed irregularly by her predecessor, the water and sanitation minister claims
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday