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Topnews, Economy, South Africa

08. August 2014

Job creation heads five-year strategy

The government has released its priorities for the next five years — the first of three phases of bringing policy in line with the National Development Plan — which includes reducing unemployment to 14%.

The Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) for 2014-19, which sets out government's priorities over the next five years, was released by Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe on Thursday.

While the MTSF represents the government’s wish list for the coming term, its target of reducing unemployment to 14% in the next five years is ambitious after the latest statistics showed that levels of joblessness had hit a six-year-low in the second quarter of this year.

"The MTSF includes actions aimed at achieving an economic environment that encourages business investment and rewards competitiveness, especially in sectors that can catalyse long-term growth and job creation," Mr Radebe said at a media briefing in Pretoria.

The private sector was critical for higher growth, accounting for 70% of production and employment.

The government wants to realise the plan’s imperative of increasing the investment rate to 25% of the gross domestic product in the next five years.

It plans to add 10,000MW of electricity to the grid, critical to unlock growth in the economy.

When Medupi and Kusile start operating they will each have a capacity of 4,800MW.

Public Enterprise Minister Lynne Brown has indicated that Medupi was scheduled to come on stream in December, if not hampered by further delays.

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene responding to questions on Eskom’s ailing finances said the government was still trying to find solutions to its financial position and sustainability.

"We will come to the public once we have got to that point and Cabinet will actually announce the necessary interventions," he said.

President Jacob Zuma had in his State of the Nation address said nuclear energy would form part of the mix — it had the potential of generating more than 9,000MW.

Mr Radebe was asked about the government’s nuclear plans, which the National Planning Commission was more sceptical about.

"Where there are contradictions, they will be resolved as we go along," he said.

Government hoped to raise the share of household income of the poorest 60% to 10%. The MTSF includes interventions to address problems at local government.

The latest audit report for municipalities shows that overall outcomes have not improved dramatically since 2008-09.

Members of the commission were at the launch of the MTSF on Thursday. Mr Radebe said government had no intention to removing the commission before its term ended. It would remain in an advisory capacity.

National Development Plan member Bobby Godsell said the commission was "delighted" at the central role the plan was playing in government programmes. He reiterated that it was written for society as a whole.

The "implementation" of the economic strategy was being staggered over three phases, Mr Radebe said. "We don’t have all the resources for this plan in a period of five years."

by Natasha Marrian

Source: www.bdlive.co.za/economy/2014/08/08/job-creation-heads-five-year-strategy

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