ANC STATEMENT ON 2021 Q4 GDP DATA
The African National Congress (ANC) notes the announcement by Statistics South Africa that the economy grew by 1.2% in the fourth quarter of 2021. This was after gross domestic product (GDP) shrunk by 1.7% in the third quarter of last year, mainly due to the violent unrest in July that had a broad negative impact on economic activity.
Overall, according to Stats SA, South Africa’s economy saw growth of 4.9% last year compared to the record Covid-19 driven contraction of 6.4% in 2020. There were improvements in a number of sectors: agricultural production expanded by 11.2%, thanks to the good rains we have seen over the last 12 months and the hard work of our farmers and the workers they employ.
Manufacturing, services and transport also expanded.
Whilst we acknowledge the statistical base effect of the 4.9% growth, we need to maintain this economic growth level. The current data is evidence that our economy is on the road to recovery, although the rate of current and future economic growth is insufficient to achieve our aim of reducing unemployment, poverty and inequality.
Worryingly, the data release showed that half of the sectors that make up the economy were in contraction in the fourth quarter of 2021. Mining production fell by 3.1%, while the construction, electricity, government and finance sectors also fell. We also note with concern that the overall size of the economy remains smaller than what it was before the pandemic struck in early 2020.
As the governing party, our number one economic priority is to accelerate the pace of economic growth and job creation. This priority must shape all macroeconomic and microeconomic policies. We are fully aware that it is only through a sustained period of economic growth that South Africa will be able to significantly reduce unemployment and improve the lives of our people.
As outlined in the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP), and emphasized in the State of the Nation Address (SONA) and the Budget Speech, we must act urgently to deepen social compacting and broaden consensus around what needs to be done to drag our economy out of the mire. As the ANC, we are committed to making a number of decisive, pro-growth interventions to improve South Africa’s economic performance.
We urge government, working with social partners, to put in place measures that will narrow the production gap, reignite growth and create jobs. Based on the ERRP, the government is making progress on economic reforms and targeted policy interventions.
These include placing the investment in infrastructure at the centre of the economic recovery.
To reap the rewards of these reforms, and at a time of increasing uncertainty around the world due to the lingering threat of the coronavirus and the conflict between Russia and the Ukraine, we must also commit ourselves to a path of policy certainty. This
means we must pursue structural transformation of our economy while also heeding the necessity to nurturing a conducive environment for growth, investment and jobs.
ISSUED BY THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS
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