JOHANNESBURG – Low economic expansion and growing public debt mainly driven by expenditure on the public wage bill, state owned enterprises and debt-service costs are among the key obstacles to an inclusive economy in South Africa, deputy finance minister David Masondo said on Monday.
Masondo told a conference hosted by financial services company JP Morgan that it would take a close working partnership between the government, investors, companies and labour unions to find and implement solutions to these challenges.
“Our economic growth continues to be too low to tackle the high levels of unemployment and poverty,” Masondo said, noting the gross domestic product was virtually flat in the first two quarters of 2019.
He said the cost of doing business in South Africa was still relatively high, especially in the ports, rail and telecoms sectors, and that the recently released Economic Strategy for South Africa policy document was therefore focused not only on reducing the cost of living; but also improving the competitiveness of network industries.
Masondo noted that commuters spent around 50 percent of their income on transport, testimony that the taxi industry-led public transport system in South Africa was not sustainable.