Finance Minister Tito Mboweni says the country needs to work on the implementation of policies if it is to realize improvements and growth in the country’s sluggish economy.

Mboweni made the comment when he delivered his opening remarks at the third economic colloquium on the South African economy on Thursday.

“One of the biggest constraints to economic growth in South Africa is lack of implementation about things that were decided upon. If we at least implement 30% of the things we said we would implement then we would be making great progress,” said Mboweni.

The third economic colloquium will see government officials, public and private sector economists, and academics deliberate on policy proposals on how to improve and grow the South African economy.

The colloquium comes in preparation for the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) to be tabled in Parliament during October.

Following the first colloquium, the Minister presented ideas emanating from the engagement to the governing party – the ANC.

“One of the things I have learned over the years is that you need political buy-in. If you think you can just parachute policy from somewhere without political buy-in, then you are wasting your time, which most think tanks do not understand. Because at the end of the day, policy is politics.” said the Minister.

Tito Mboweni

The economic colloquium will also allow delegates to discuss the recently published paper on South Africa’s economic strategy titled “Towards a growth agenda for the South African economy”.

Mboweni said well over 700 comments were received on the paper by the National Treasury.

“My guidance to the Treasury staff when going through the comments was that ideas which are internally consistent with what we are trying to do we should incorporate.

“Those that are internally inconsistent we should just appreciate the contribution and say this is not consistent with what we are trying to do,” he said.

Mboweni said he and his team would spend the upcoming weekend putting the final touches to the MTBPS while also finalising the economic strategy document. 

“We are now at the tail end of the preparations so this meeting gives us the opportunity to have the last bite.

“The expectation is that when we submit the MTBPS we should also provide the finalised version of the economic strategy document,” he said.

While the MTBPS was scheduled to take place on 30 October 2019, Minister Mboweni announced that this was likely to change to allow the President to attend.

“I need to say here that the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement is likely to be presented earlier than the 30th of October. We had initially planned on the 30th.

“We had planned that around the President’s diary. It turns out that he might be out of the country. So we are going to have pull back the date. We are looking at the 29th of October 2019,” he said.

According to Treasury, SA’s current economic path is unsustainable with the country facing the triple threat of stagnating economic growth, rising unemployment and high inequality.

Since his appointment, Mboweni has hosted two successful economic colloquia.

The previous colloquia assessed some of the viable policy proposals and interventions that encourage new models and paradigm shifts to support faster and more inclusive economic growth in South Africa.