News update: SONA 2021 – what can we expect?

 News update: SONA 2021 – what can we expect?

News update.

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The State of the Nation address will be delivered tonight. As always a range of issues are expected to be addressed. President Cyril Ramaphosa will also be looked at to report back on the actions he promised last year to revive the economy. It is hoped that he will provide an update on progress, rather than making yet more promises, as has been the case in the past.

Ramaphosa is expected to address two areas that currently have the biggest impact on the economy – electricity supply and digital spectrum. However, real progress will be hard to report on as Telkom and MTN challenges the government’s spectrum auction process in court, and the energy minister stalling on regulatory changes to speedily implement regulations that will allow private sector electricity generation.

Other expectations include feedback on the government’s Economic Reconstruction and Revival Plan (ERRP), which he announced in October. But there’s been little progress on implementing the promises in the plan, other than the employment stimulus, which has now seen more than 285,000 young people employed as temporary teaching assistants.

President Ramaphosa has committed to a host of infrastructure development programmes, as well as international investment at his annual investment conferences. But despite these commitments last year was one of the worst years in recent memory for new investment projects.

In his opening address to the Mining Indaba on Tuesday Ramaphosa did not respond to the industry’s appeals for action, choosing instead for an out-of-touch speech in which he said the government continues to drive policy reform in the sector.

The state of the nation address comes as some economists revised down growth forecasts for this year, in the light of a first quarter that started with new lockdown level 3 restrictions and load-shedding.

The president can also be expected to offer details on the rollout of the vaccine programme, with more detail on its cost and funding to follow in the finance minister’s budget on February 24.

Chris Louw

Featured Financial Writer for SA Shares - Read more about Chris's Bio -

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