President Cyril Ramaphosa claims that pledges made at a recent investment conference, as well as recent job figures and GDP data, show that the country is turning the turnaround and returning to pre-COVID-19 epidemic levels of growth. During a National Assembly session on Thursday, the President remarked this while leading a debate on the Presidency’s Budget Vote.
The President said real GDP is slightly higher than what it was before the pandemic. The recovery is consistent across most of the major sectors of the economy, such as manufacturing, trade, utilities, finance, personal services, mining, and agriculture. “In recent weeks, there has also been encouraging progress by law enforcement authorities in pursuing cases from the state capture era.
“Despite our difficulties, there is reason to be optimistic, as our economy is beginning to show indications of improvement. “I present this Presidency Budget Vote in the week that Stats SA announced that in the first quarter of 2022 the South African economy grew by 1.9 percent. The growth we have experienced in recent quarters has brought the economy to pre-pandemic levels much sooner than analysts expected,” he said.
“These are the green shoots of recovery and of progress. These are the signs that we are on the right track. They give us hope and confidence to forge ahead,” he said. The President said the country’s trade figures show further evidence of economic recovery. “In 2021, we posted the largest trade surplus on record at R448 billion, the highest since 1987,” he said.
Meanwhile, government’s drive to raise R1.2 trillion in five years is within reach. “I also present this Budget Vote in the year that the 4th South Africa Investment Conference raised investment pledges to the value of R332 billion. This brings us within reach of the target we set in 2018 of attracting R1.2 trillion in investment over five year,” he said. The outcome of the conference, he said, was indicative of renewed business and investor confidence in the economy and in government’s reform process.
The President said, meanwhile, that last week, the latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey was released and showed that the number of unemployed people in the country dropped in the first three months of 2022. “This translates to 370 000 jobs created between the last quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of this year,” he said.
“When this administration took office three years ago, we embarked on a path of renewal to restore the promise of our democracy. And we have come a long way. “The economic recovery is gathering momentum, and the GDP growth figures speak for themselves, as does the steady uptake of domestic and foreign investment. “The state is being steadily rebuilt and credibility is being restored,” he said.
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