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Business must support the economic stimulus package, says Mkhize

Minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs Zweli Mkhize.
Minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs Zweli Mkhize.

Dr Zweli Mkhize has urged the business community to rally behind the stimulus package aimed to turn the SA economy around that President Cyril Ramaphosa announced last month.

Mkhize, the minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs, said government believes that the package has all the features that will help to turn the economy around.

Ramaphosa's stimulus package includes the relaxing of the visa regime, increasing the allocation of high-demand radio spectrum, reducing the cost of doing business, land reform and the introduction of an infrastructure and township funds, among others.

"We urge that everyone should actually support this particular set of measures (stimulus package), particularly from the private sector to ensure they play their role in partnering with government because to get out of a recession we need all of us to participate," said Mkhize at the economic forum session at Wits University Business School last night. 

"And we need a situation where we look at the issue of recession and low growth trend as a South African problem rather than pointing fingers at government or pointing fingers at the private sector.

"It is actually the kind of situation where whatever happens we're in it together and to get out of it we need to actually hold each other's hands, and that for us it's the most important issue, meaning that we're calling upon the private sector in particular and communities in general to work with us."

His comments come as the stimulus package is being criticised for its lack of detail while other critics say the package contains old plans that have been repackaged and will result in the unemployment rate shooting up to more than 10 million next year.

Ramaphosa has organised a Jobs Summit that will run between Thursday and Friday which is expected to see the private sector, government, communities discussing ways to tackle unemployment currently standing at 27.2%.

"One of the important issues in dealing with the elimination of poverty and unemployment is that of fixing the economy. The economy has to be fixed in a way that it must grow better than what it is doing now and in terms of our National Development Plan, the growth has to be above 5% and probably 7% is where we should be, on the basis of which we'll be able to achieve some of the targets..." Mkhize said.

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