What will 2015 look like?

SACCI President, Vusi Khumalo

Whether 2014 has been a better or worse year for business than 2013 continues to be debated. There is however no doubt that the longer the strains of a protracted recovery continue to be exerted on the business environment the worse the relative experience for business.

Evidence of the challenges experienced by business in 2014 and the impact thereof on operational decisions is fairly pervasive. Within the SACCI trade survey, we find rising inventory levels as a contingency measure to market disruptions as opposed to an expectation of improved business conditions in 2015.

Input prices are rising more than proportionally to sales prices as an indication of higher labour, transportation, electricity and other input costs. All of this against a backdrop of low consumer confidence and low consumer demand.

Much needs to be done to energise current economic performance, including responding to the intensity of labor market disruptions, reducing the costs of compliance (associated with current and proposed legislation) and responding constructively to ratings agency and investor concerns. Policy uncertainty continues to adversely affect investment into South Africa and the investment spending of the private sector. As we enter a new year, South Africa needs to take more focused, concrete steps towards a more conducive business environment for local and international business - as well pave the way for broader reforms and responses to South Africa’s current socio-economic challenges.

A new year brings new opportunities for the Business Community to engage with our social partners on building a stronger South African economy. We need to boldly extol the relationship between economic advancement, a stronger role for business and improved standards of living at every opportunity, on every platform and to the farthest corners of our society. We must continue to advocate for the centrality of the private sector and the role of small business in particular as fundamental to addressing our broader socio-economic challenges. We must, in every partnership and in every engagement, firmly and relentlessly install the building blocks for business support and economic growth without further delay.

If we achieve this, we will turn the corner on current low business confidence levels, we will be encouraging of business partnerships and investment and trade interest from abroad and we will achieve a sound local business platform from which to propel our economy from staid levels of economic growth.

Through the support and active participation of its members, SACCI is able to muster a strong, resolute voice for a balanced business environment that is responsive to the objectives of all stakeholders.

Through the sustained, selfless contributions of business leaders from across the country and the active engagement of government and labour leaders, we can ensure that 2015 is indeed a prosperous year for all South Africans.

Vusi Khumalo (SACCI President)

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Issue 91


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