Addressing economic concerns and unveiling the policy imperatives of government should be a top priority for this year’s State of the Nation Address (Sona), the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) said in a statement on Wednesday.
Speaking ahead of the Sona on Thursday, Sacci CEO Alan Mukoki said several key challenges impacting economic growth required high-level attention.
This was particularly true of the country’s prolonged electricity supply deficit; frequent service delivery and other protests; the slow progress in the roll-out of the National Development Plan (NDP); and the threat of potential further downgrades by ratings agencies.
“The immediate priority for South Africa is to send a clear message to rating agencies that we will do what is necessary to address issues they have raised, so that we avert a further sovereign downgrade,” the Banking Association South Africa (Basa) added.
“There are several challenges that threaten economic stability that have to be dealt with as priorities over the next several months. The business community is yearning to assist government in finding solutions to these challenges,” Mukoki said, adding that the role of the private sector in addressing national impediments to economic growth, job creation and poverty alleviation should be a central theme of President Jacob Zuma’s address.
Reassurances were needed on issues surrounding financial markets; the impact of the rand exchange rate; the stagnant growth rate; the high level of unemployment; and the resolution of the energy crisis.
“We are at a juncture in our country where all sectors of society need to instil confidence in the ability of South Africans to get onto a high road from the current crisis,” Basa concluded.