KLCBT Welcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa Stimilus Package
The Kruger Lowveld Chamber of Business and Tourism (KLCBT) welcomes the stimulus package announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday 22 September 2018.
The economic recovery plan is set to stimulate economic growth and job creation. South Africa’s economy is under pressure, with the rising fuel costs, the depreciation of the Rand, the onset of a technical recession and many job losses in the mining and manufacturing sectors, with many more companies planning to cut more jobs.
“It takes bold leadership to acknowledge that the country is in a crises and that we need a series of meaningful interventions to stimulate economic growth. However, we are concerned that we still have Ministers like Nomvula Mokonyane who have publicly made utterances that we should not care about the falling Rand and she we will pick it up. This clearly shows the lack of understanding of how the economy works and makes us doubt government sincerity in dealing with this economic crisis,” says KLCBT’s Chairman of Tourism Oupa Pilane.
The KLCBT welcomes the announcement made on the township and rural entrepreneurship fund and the intervention that will be made in the tourism sector. The review of the visa requirements is overdue, but we will hopefully now see an increase in visitors coming to our country. Tourism has great potential to create more jobs and business opportunities. It has been the only sector that has been resilient in terms of increasing contribution to national GDP and employment growth.
“Our view as the KLCBT is that the President’s announcement needs to be firmly located into our provincial and local context in Mpumalanga. We hope that we will be afforded an opportunity to discuss with government how best this plan will be translated in making our contribution as a province to economic growth. We would like to make the following points that we will want to discuss with government,” says Pilane.
- As business, we want a more transparent tender process where the public will be allowed to observe the awarding of tenders, in other words the creation of an open tender process as has been established in Gauteng. We strongly believe that this will minimise corruption, give more value for money and lead to the appointment of competent service providers.
- We are concerned with inflated prices and budget overruns that sometimes seem to be deliberate. Business would like to monitor the bill of quantities, as we believe that government is overpaying substantially in many cases.
- We want a decentralised procurement system that will extend the pie to a number of unemployed youth and small businesses instead of centralising services to make the few rich. A case in point being the travel agent tender that has seen many companies being dropped for preference of a few connected individuals.
- We are concerned about the extremely poor state of the roads, in particular our main tourism routes. This is hampering the growth of tourism in our province. We are also of the view that government is paying more for less quality on the repairs, upgrades and construction of the roads. We want the process to be transparent as many of our members have the required expertise to help government to minimise wastage. In this regard, we also urge the provincial government to overcome the lack of provincial funding for road maintenance and construction by applying timeously for any funding that might emanate from the soon-to-be created Infrastructure Fund.
- We believe that the model that government continues to implement in Pilgrim’s Rest is deeply flawed and has resulted in the town losing more than 20 000 visitors last year. A sustainable future for the town can only be secured with a completely new business model that will ensure investment, profitability and transformation. The current model has destroyed the economic potential of the town. We have models that will ensure that our people benefit by pairing them with required expertise and resources, thereby resulting in an increase in tourism numbers and spend in the town.
- A joint and significant effort is needed to intervene in our dysfunctional municipalities. Incompetence and corruption at municipal level has resulted in unabated service delivery protests. These protests have had a detrimental effect on tourism and business operations in general. Workers have lost their wages with public infrastructure and property destroyed in the process.
As the President has said, “igniting economic activity requires partnership and collaboration. It must be a national effort in which all of us work together to restore our economy.”
“KLCBT therefore urges the Mpumalanga Provincial Government to set up working committees with the private sector and civil society to deal with these economic and service delivery challenges facing our province,” said Pilane.
Issued by the President of KLCBT
013 755 2069