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Economic recovery plan a chance to drive fundamental and lasting change, says Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday that South Africans needed to see this moment as a rupture with the past and an opportunity to drive fundamental and lasting change.

“It is an opportunity not only to recover the ground that we have lost over the course of the pandemic, but to place the economy on a new path to growth,” Ramaphosa said when unveiling the reconstruction and recovery plan at the joint sitting of National Assembly and National Council of Provinces.

He said the reconstruction and recovery plan would drive growth that was inclusive and transformative.

“The depth of the crisis caused by the pandemic has sharpened our focus and our determination to address the challenges that face us.”

Ramaphosa also said the creation of jobs was at the centre of the plan.

“We must get our people back into the jobs they lost in the pandemic.

“We are determined to create more employment opportunities for those who were unemployed before the pandemic or who had given up looking for work.

“This means unleashing the potential of our economy by, among others, implementing necessary reforms, removing regulatory barriers that increase costs and create inefficiencies in the economy, securing our energy supply, and freeing up digital infrastructure.”

The president also said his plan directly responded to the immediate economic impact of Covid-19 by driving job creation and expanding support for vulnerable households.

“We aim to do this primarily through a major infrastructure programme and a large-scale employment stimulus, coupled with an intensive localisation drive and industrial expansion.”

Ramaphosa said the interventions would achieve the following:

achieve sufficient, secure and reliable energy supply within two years;

create and support more than 800 000 work opportunities in the immediate term to respond to job losses;

unlock more than R1 trillion in infrastructure investment over the next four years;

reduce data costs for every South African and expand broadband access to low-income households;

reverse the decline of the local manufacturing sector and promote reindustrialisation through deeper levels of localisation and exports; and resuscitate vulnerable sectors such as tourism, which have been hard hit by the pandemic. | Political Bureau

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