I heard an interview on TV of a pretty pro-"new ANC" economist commenting that Trevor Manuel's medium term budget failed to address the priorities set out in the alliance's financial summit of the weekend before.
And now here's a rather more critical article saying much the same -
However, the prospect of Trevor Manuel's budget plans easing the woes of the full 5 million unemployed any time soon were simply not there. Arguably, he was warning of tough times ahead, and we know what goes with that.The South African economy was back on the policy frontburner this week with two major documents emerging from the ANC.
First, at the weekend, there was the declaration of the alliance economic summit. Then, at mid-week, the medium-term budget was released.
There is hardly anything wrong in churning out documents and statements on the economy. In fact, the more the merrier, except here the two could hardly be more different.
The first, which appears to have been scheduled to pre-empt Finance Minister Trevor Manuel's budget update, is the kind of wish list the ANC put out in the days before it came to power. It brims with noble, worthy ideas and goals, yet lacks any detail as to how these aims can be achieved.
For instance, it calls for five million new jobs. This is laudable but the document gives no clue as to where these jobs will come from and what the investment cost will be. It has all the hallmarks of a struggle document, a wish list of the disenfranchised, rather than a working plan of an elected government.
Manuel's budget, of course, is exactly the opposite, being detailed down to the tiniest footnote on how the revenues and expenses of the country will be managed in the next three years.
full story from M&G here
There are some tough questions that need to be answered. Gov might well point to factors outside of our borders for what lies ahead. But the main contributors to our current conditions come from within.
To me a strong push on education is the foundation for any plan to resolve unemployment over the long term. And I reckon we've squandered enough years already. It's easy to be critical that the Dept. of Finance's national budget growth for education has not being enough, but that budget doesn't include the money that's going into the skills development program. Arguably, the education sector has had access to significantly more funding than before the NSDS program started. So why do we still have skills shortages - possibly worse than when the strategy started?
Let's face it - the departments of Labour and Education have a lot to answer for.
The next tough question is what can be done in the short term about unemployment? I doubt there is a single citizen who has a problem with the goal, but how the heck is it going to be achieved quickly?
The idea of promoting labour intensive operations to help ease unemployment is all very well, but what exactly should these operations be?
Has anyone got any idea of details?