President Jacob Zuma said that South Africa must take advantage of the current weak exchange rate to boost tourism into the country.
In his State of the Nation address on Thursday, Zuma said: “We must take advantage of the exchange rate as well as the recent changes of visa regulations, to boost inbound tourism.
“SA Tourism will invest one hundred million rand a year to promote domestic tourism, encouraging South Africans to tour their country.”
The rand has firmed to R15.89 against the US dollar, having reached a worst level of R17.99 on 11 January, after Zuma defended his well documented appointment blunder within the finance department.
The president attributed South Africa’s current economic woes by and large on the economic slump emerging market economies elsewhere in the world face.
“Global growth remains muted. Financial markets worldwide are volatile and the currencies of emerging markets are weak and fluctuate widely.”
The president singled out South Africa’s BRICs partners Russia, Brazil and China as countries where growth has disappointed and which have a profound effect on the local economy.
“Our economy is relatively small and that is why it is so negatively affected by all these developments.”
He said the situation requires an effective turnaround plan from all parts of society. “It’s about doing things differently and acting on what may not have been acted upon quickly before,” he said.
South Africans must promote the country as the preferred place of investment. “A commonality from business, labour and government needs to exist,” he said.
“If there are any disagreements between us, we should solve them before they escalate.”
“We have heard points to create the right investment support infrastructure,” he said. “Government will implement a one-stop shop of investment to signal that South Africa is ready for business.
“We will fast track this service in partnership with the private sector. Such an initiative requires government to remove the red tape and review any legislative blockages.
“We have established an inter-ministerial committee to look at these initiatives,” he said.
We have heard concerns from companies about delays in obtaining visas for skilled personnel from abroad. While we prefer that employers prioritise local workers, our migration policy must also make it possible to import scarce skills.
The draft migration policy will be presented to Cabinet during the course of 2016.
Reporting with News24