21 February 2024

BUSA’s Reaction to the 2024 Budget Speech: Fostering Economic Growth Through Collaboration

Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) views the budget as a generally positive step forward given the current economic context. The Minister’s emphasis on fostering economic growth, safeguarding the economy, and maintaining fiscal stability aligns with BUSA’s objectives. We appreciate the acknowledgment of the need for greater collaboration between the private sector, state-owned enterprises (SoCs), and government departments, particularly in critical areas like infrastructure, logistics, and energy.

The budget’s recognition of the private sector’s role in infrastructure development, in particular the contribution of the private sector in energy production, is encouraging. We agree that opening up the economy and partnering with the private sector is vital for efficiency and effectiveness in these sectors.

The recognition in the budget that the logistics sector and energy are critical enablers of economic growth resonates with BUSA’s priorities. We believe that enhancing the private sector’s role in these areas, including private sector participation in ports, rail, and energy generation will contribute to economic recovery and growth.

Furthermore, BUSA welcomes the budget’s substantial support for climate change initiatives, including investments in electric vehicles and the Climate Change Relief Fund. These measures underscore the government’s commitment to addressing environmental challenges while promoting sustainable development.

We recognise that the draw down on the Gold and Foreign Exchange Contingency Reserve Account (GFECRA) was one of the few remaining tools available to utilise and we welcome the undertaking by the minister that this would be done after ensuring that “sufficient buffers are available to absorb exchange rate swings and the solvency of the Reserve Bank is not compromised”.

The allocation of R1.4 billion to the National Health Insurance (NHI), although modest, is of concern as it indicates that government is pressing ahead with implementing a piece of legislation that is fundamentally flawed. BUSA believes it is essential to address the issues raised by various stakeholders in addition to business to give the NHI a realistic chance of being implemented.

BUSA acknowledges the minister’s commendable efforts in crafting a balanced budget amidst challenging conditions. We remain committed to collaborating with the government in critical economic areas to restore confidence among citizens and investors, driving sustainable growth and development in our country.

Ends

Cas Coovadia
Business Unity SA CEO

_________________________________________________________________________

For more information, please contact:
Sizwe Maswanganye
Tel: 011 784 8000/0766516444
Email: sizwe.maswanganye@busa.org.za