The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted the latest GDP growth figures by Stats SA, showing the economy has grown by 1.9% in the last quarter. The GDP recovery to pre-pandemic levels, the creation of 370 000 new jobs and the decrease in unemployment from the real unemployment of 46.2% to 45.5% is welcome but is no reason for celebration.
A GDP growth rate of 1.9% is not enough to ensure a meaningful decrease in the unemployment and keep up with the millions of new labour market entrants each year.
This can be attributed to the removal of restrictions including government’s decision to invoke the disaster management act that removed all restrictions that were put in place to stem the tide of COVID-19 infections.
The Federation hopes the government can start promoting investment in rural areas and the townships economy because economies are made up of people. There is a need to reduce the red-tape and improve co-ordination between government agencies and departments that are supposed to help SMMEs.
The government also needs offer tax breaks and incentivesto small businesses to encourage new business development. An increase in the number of start-up businesses will help with unemployment and tax revenue
Government should protect the economy by introducing tougher exchange controls to stop money being taken illegally and giving tax incentives to encourage investors to keep revenue in the country. SMMEs are expected to function as a driving force in South Africa’s social and economic stability, however, for this to happen and to unlock the full potential of the economy as a whole. It is clear that there is much work that needs to be done on the part of big business, government and SMMEs themselves.
In addition to targeting employment, the reserve bank should align its policy to industrial development, introduce foreign exchange controls, and impose quantitative controls on commercial banks to ensure that a quarter of their loans go to priority sectors that drive the growth path and create jobs on a larger scale.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794