Agbiz welcomes Ramaphosa's plans on ports, Eskom, unhappy about land reform
Agbiz on Friday welcomed the emphasis placed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his state of the nation address (Sona) on inclusive economic growth to address key challenges facing the country.
The association of agribusinesses operating in South and Southern Africa said the extensive reference to Eskom and the electricity supply issues impacting negatively on the economy, highlighted the need to implement the Integrated Resource Plan 2019 as a matter of urgency.
It said this also highlighted the need to allow businesses and households to generate their own electricity.
Agbiz said the changed attitude towards energy generation, including the move to renewable sources of energy, was strongly welcomed and this needed to translate into immediate action.
“A key challenge identified by the president, and one of great concern to the agribusiness environment, is the deteriorating capability of the state, including state-owned enterprises, to deliver basic services.
“Without efficient services, including all logistics services, it will be extremely difficult to maintain and improve the global competitiveness of our many value chains in the sector,” Agbiz CEO Dr John Purchase said.
The association said it was particularly pleased that Ramaphosa recognised the challenges in logistics that could slow SA’s agricultural exports.
Ramaphosa noted that the country’s ports were congested and inefficient.
He said during the course of this year, the government would undertake a fundamental overhaul of Durban port to reduce delays and costs.
Agbiz said this had been a challenge for agribusinesses, specifically citrus exports in recent years.
“Expediting the issuing of water use licences is also a welcome development, which we hope will be a positive contributor to agricultural expansion, which the president reiterated remains central to SA’s economic development,” Purchase said.
However, Agbiz said it reaffirmed its opposition to the proposed change in the constitution to allow for expropriation of land without compensation.
It said this was an unnecessary and damaging approach to land reform, which would affect investment confidence and the commercial viability of the sector.