Forget ratings, time to get to work – Gordhan
Now the country had dodged the bullet of a credit rating downgrade it was time to knuckle down and put a “universal focus” on lifting economic growth, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said.
This was not about satisfying ratings agencies but was “necessary whether we are about to be downgraded to junk or not”, he said on Saturday, responding to rumbles of discontent in some quarters over the appearance the government was being forced to bow to the interests of foreign investors.
Growth of 0.6 or 0.7 percent was “just unacceptable”, as were the low level of job creation and the loss of jobs.
Failing to achieve the right levels of investment in infrastructure and the real economy was also putting the future at risk. “So what we’re looking at here is not just for ratings agencies, it’s for the benefit of (the whole country) now and future generations, to ensure we remove hurdles and that we actually build a more positive narrative as we go forward.”
Responding to Standard & Poor’s concerns that rising political tensions ahead of the elections and the ANC’s leadership race could hamper implementation of reforms and damage the social compact between the government, labour and business, Gordhan said there would always be political debate and noise in any country.
“Look at what Brexit is doing to the UK at the moment,” he said. “What we need is to be mindful of how we conduct our politics and let’s not shoot ourselves in the foot.”
It was a relief that S&P, considered the more hawkish of the three major agencies, had affirmed South Africa’s sovereign investment grade on Friday evening, but there was a lot of work still to be done.
Read the full story here: http://www.iol.co.za/business/news/forget-ratings-time-to-get-to-work–gordhan-2030559
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