Riyaz Patel

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni says one of the biggest constraints to economic growth in South Africa is the lack of implementation of policies already decided on.

Delivering his opening remarks at the third economic colloquium on the South African economy Thursday, Mboweni said: “If we at least implement 30% of the things we said we would implement then we would be making great progress.” said Mboweni.

The third economic colloquium brings together government officials, public and private sector economists, and academics to deliberate on policy proposals on how to improve and grow the South African economy. 

It is also expected to provide ‘food for thought’ as the finance minister prepares for his Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) to be tabled in Parliament later this month.

“One of the things I have learned over the years is that you need political buy-in. If you think you can just parachute policy from somewhere without political buy-in, then you are wasting your time, which most think tanks do not understand. Because at the end of the day, policy is politics,” said Mboweni.

The colloquium will also unpack Treasury’s plan on South Africa’s economic strategy titled: “Towards a growth agenda for the South African economy.”

Mboweni said well over 700 inputs were received on the paper by National Treasury since it was released for public comment in August.

“My guidance to the Treasury staff when going through the comments was that ideas which are internally consistent with what we are trying to do we should incorporate.

“Those that are internally inconsistent we should just appreciate the contribution and say this is not consistent with what we are trying to do,” he said.

Mboweni said his team will put the final touches to the MTBPS this weekend, while also finalising the economic strategy document.  

“We are now at the tail end of the preparations so this meeting gives us the opportunity to have the last bite.The expectation is that when we submit the MTBPS we should also provide the finalised version of the economic strategy document,” he said.

Mboweni also announced that the MTBPS scheduled for 30 October, was likely to happen a day earlier to accommodate President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“We had planned that around the President’s diary. It turns out that he might be out of the country. So we are going to have pull back the date. We are looking at the 29th of October 2019,” he said.

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