Ignore negativity around economy‚ says Gigaba
Finance minister Malusi Gigaba has urged the public to ignore negative sentiments about the economy‚ saying it will soon be turned around.
Speaking in the National Assembly on Thursday during a debate on the Medium Term Budget Policy statement he delivered last month‚ Gigaba said “our economy will turn around. A brighter day beckons.”
However Gigaba did not present any new concrete plans or steps detailing what government was doing to save the ailing economy.
In his maiden MTBPS in October‚ Gigaba painted a grim picture of the economy‚ with plummeting tax revenue collection and a rising national debt.
Ratings agencies have since reacted with downgrades to South Africa's sovereign credit ratings and the credit scoring of crucial state-owned companies such as Eskom.
But Gigaba said South Africans should “brush aside the message of despondency and doom” that he claimed is being spread by the opposition‚ particularly the Democratic Alliance.
Gigaba said his budget policy statement had been “very frank” and had outlined plans for growing the economy and industrialisation and reigniting the country's manufacturing sector. “Even at our bleakest moments we must not drown ourselves in our own message of doom and gloom‚” he said.
The Democratic Alliance's David Maynier said the MTBPS had been a “disaster” which exposed “the full horror of President Jacob Zuma's mismanagement of the economy in South Africa”.
But Gigaba said Maynier was nothing more than a “lame grandstander”.
The finance minister said the ANC had prioritised financial sector transformation‚ which he claimed the Democratic Alliance was trying to hamper in order to retain the status quo.
Gigaba denied that the ANC was waiting for the outcome of its elective conference in December before taking “tough decisions”.
“The difficult decisions are being taken now‚” he said.
Gigaba said the focus should not be on “fiscal consolidation and more fiscal consolidation” but needed to focus on growing the economy.