Today Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, tabled the Western Cape Provincial Economic Review and Overview (PERO) and the Municipal Economic Review and Overview (MERO) in the provincial legislature.
The Provincial Review & Economic Outlook 2019 and the Municipal Review & Economic Outlook 2019 are world-class research publications produced by Provincial Treasury.
These documents contain forecasts of future trends, analysis of past trends, and serve as a “one-stop research shop” to support the policy, planning and budgeting process at provincial and municipal level in the Western Cape.
The PERO and MERO tell us a story:
- of a slow recovery in economic growth, driven by private services in the Western Cape;
- of a rebound in employment in the Western Cape;
- of improved human development in the Western Cape; and
- of new and exciting opportunities in the economy in the Western Cape.
However, the fact is also:
- that although the provincial economy is expected to grow at an average of 1.6% over the next five years, this is lower than the average growth of 1.7% in the five years between 2013 and 2017, which included the meltdown of the global economy;
- that although the provincial business confidence index is higher than the national business confidence index, the national business confidence index has collapsed and is at a twenty-year low; and
- that although the provincial economy increased employment at a faster annual average growth rate than the national economy, there are still too many people who do not have jobs, or who have given up looking for jobs, in the Western Cape.
The downside risks to the provincial economy are considerable and include slowing global economic growth as a result of trade wars, and political developments, such as a possible “no deal” Brexit.
And, the biggest risk to the provincial economic outlook is the national government in South Africa.
Rather than clear and decisive leadership, there is a sense of paralysis which has resulted in a descent into economic madness, with national government considering reckless economic policy proposals, including land expropriation without compensation, state-owned banks, prescribed assets and the nationalization of the reserve bank, in South Africa.
The Western Cape Government have worked hard to create an enabling environment for the private sector and for the markets, to drive economic growth and job creation in the Western Cape.
We cannot, and we will not, sit back and allow national government to become a ball-and-chain holding back the economy in the Western Cape.
Premier Alan Winde has set out a bold vision, and is implementing that bold vision, here in the Western Cape.
The Premier has:
- announced the most comprehensive and expensive safety plan in the history of the Western Cape; and
- announced the establishment of an “Economic War Room” to promote economic growth in the Western Cape.
In addition, the Western Cape government continues to implement existing programmes to drive economic growth and jobs creation, including red-tape reduction, air access, and investment and export promotion in the Western Cape.
We will work hard to ensure:
- that the provincial economy grows at a faster rate than the national economy;
- that provincial business confidence is greater than national business confidence; and
- that provincial employment grows at a faster rate than the national economy in the Western Cape.
And we will do it so that more people, especially young people, have jobs, and live with dignity, with independence and with hope in the Western Cape.