Productivity SA Board Members led by the Chairperson, Prof Mthunzi - The incoming DG for ILO in October 2022
The CEO and all Productivity SA Officials
Members of the Academia
Members of the Media
Thank you for inviting me to the Virtual Productivity and Competitiveness Symposium 2021 - I must say I’m very delighted to be part of this multi-stakeholder platform.
On the 21st of August 2020, I was invited to speak at another session, the World Entrepreneurship day organised by Productivity SA.
I was delighted to be part of the engagements in August 2020 and to experience first-hand the commitment that Business Turnaround and Recovery made to support companies facing economic distress with the objective of preserving over 9000 jobs and mitigating the retrenchment of workers. This could not have come at a better time than where we are now with jobs in our Country.
So Chairperson it will be interesting to know if this target of preserving jobs and mitigating the retrenchment of workers was reached as envisaged or whether challenges were encountered during the Pandemic disruptions.
This will give a clear account of Productivity SA Contribution in the Country’s stability and growth path.
It is Winston Churchill that said “Sometimes looking back is seeing better forward”. So it is always important to reflect more often on the commitments we made as we prepare for new challenges.
I must admit the theme for the Symposium which is - (PRODUCTIVITY AND COMPETITIVENESS: A CATALYST FOR SOUTH AFRICA’S ECONOMIC RECOVERY AND PROSPERITY POST-COVID-19) Coincides with the Theme for the 2020 World Entrepreneurship Day as well as the January 2021 IMF Report on the Global Outlook for Economic Recovery and Policy interventions post Covid.
I know you will agree with me that we lived through highly uncertain times of the Dramatic breakdown in supply chains and we are now currently in the race between mutating virus and the vaccine rollout.
For the first time all Countries were faced with a health response as the equaliser for all nations and the first order of business.
Countries had to review their fiscal and monetary Policy Support Interventions for Stimulus to faster Recovery and Growth as a solution to bounce back into full Economic Activity.
We also live in the times where in the future, greater output losses are still predicted to be far worse compared to pre-covid for the developing countries such as ours.
So our focus should be on Government Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, but first and foremost;
I must admit that there is some statutory misalignment between the Productivity SA Mandate, the founding documents and the funding structure. This Symposium must help find solutions to this phenomenon.
I will reflect briefly to this session how Government will place the country at the threshold of an important opportunity to turn the economy around and unlock the employment creating potential that we seek. I will leave details to the adequate faculties of the minds present in this platform to discuss further and find some solutions for government to implement.
In my view the Major enablers for Economic Growth and Creating Jobs are most certainly the Industrialisation of the Economy, a massive increase in local production and Macro-Economic Interventions.
The SONA identified the four most overriding focused priorities for 2021 as Defeating the Pandemic, Accelerating Economic Recovery, Implementing Economic Reforms to drive inclusive growth and to create sustainable jobs as well as to Build State Capacity to deliver services and enhance accountability.
At the heart of Productivity SA mandate, the response to Economic Growth and Job Creation are located under the two Programs aligned to Enterprise Development and Support Programmes which are; The Workplace Challenge Programme and the Business Turnaround and Recovery (BT&R) Programme.
Government Interventions to Economic Recovery include Massive Infrastructure Rollout Programmes, the Massive increase in Local Production and our plans towards Employment Stimulus in line with SONA and the Budget Speech.
The IMF Global Outlook Report highlights Education Spending, digitisation, Policy support and vaccine rollout as key interventions for growth and Economic Activity.
I note very interestingly the integration of the Pillars or sub-themes that will be the focus of discussion for the symposium: Training and Skills Development, Enterprise Development as well as Research and Innovation.
The State of the Nation Address identified products such as the steel products, edible oils, food concentrates, PPE and Green Economy Inputs as being amongst the 42 identified areas of Local Production.
Our Labour Activation Programmes, our Entities and all our Training Programmes must also focus on Expanding our Productive Economy and Contribute to the Return on Investment for the Country’s Annual Productive Output.
In my view, your pillars and topics for this session are an immediate intervention for Economic Rebound, Economic Activity and Economic Growth.
I wish you all the best in your engagements and I know something great is about to come out of sessions such as this one.
I thank you.