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Black business pleased Ramaphosa is reinstating policy and research unit in the presidency

The president of BBC, Sandile Zungu, has welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa's move to start an economic research committee.
The president of BBC, Sandile Zungu, has welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa's move to start an economic research committee.
Image: Tyrone Arthur

President Cyril Ramaphosa's decision to reinstate the presidency’s policy and research unit has been welcomed by black business, saying this was an important development in the new administration.

According to Sowetan's sister publication Business Day, the unit will also give the presidency oversight of strategic projects, such as the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme.

The paper reported that it was also expected that a new growth plan and a new industrial policy will emanate from work done within the presidency and that an experienced cabinet minister will be appointed to work in the presidency, purely as adviser to Ramaphosa.

"Black Business Council [BBC] welcomes the reinstatement of the presidency’s policy and research unit and views this as an important development in the new administration. Implementation is the key driver of socioeconomic transformation and inclusive growth," said the council's president Sandile Zungu in a media statement.

“Policy certainty is vitally important in any business environment as it drives sentiments of investors all over the world. This development sends the correct signal that the new administration is serious about implementation and monitoring of current policies. The policy unit should also bring the much-needed policy cohesion that will undo the silo behaviour across all spheres of government,” he said.

The BBC, which has given Ramaphosa its unwavering support, has also called on business, labour, government and community to unite and support economic revival and policy implementation.

“The BBC has always advocated for the intensification of policy implementation that will strengthen the government’s ability to adequately address the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality. This also fits well with the call by the BBC to establish a fit-for-purpose cabinet and administration,” Zungu said.

However, economist and academic professor Chris Malikane said he was not sure what would be the role of the research unit as the president already has a panel of economic advisers and there is a planning commission.

"But overall a president needs a research arm but I don't know how this arm is going to interact with other government departments," he said.

Malikane, who believes that big business and multinationals have captured government policy, said the new unit should advise Ramaphosa against the unbundling of state-owned entities like Eskom.

He said SOEs were responsible for large-scale skills development and they would lack this capacity if they were privatised.

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