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SAIA calls for renewed commitment to the NDP

15 May 2017 SAIA

The National Development Plan (NDP) is the road map for inclusive growth in South Africa. This is according to the South African Insurance Association (SAIA). Speaking at the Association’s Inaugural Indaba in Sandton this week, SAIA Chairperson Lizé Lambrechts said the NDP is “practical, ambitious and a very positive blueprint for the country.”

The NDP aims to reduce poverty, inequality and unemployment. Critical to the country and the insurance industry, SAIA believes the time for action and implementation is now.

“The NDP provides a comprehensive framework for South Africa’s growth strategy going forward,” said Ashraf Kariem, Senior Sector Expert: Economics – NPC Research and Policy in the Office of the Minister in the Presidency.

Professor Raymond Parsons of the Northwest University’s School of Business and Governance said the NDP, launched in 2012, is an excellent plan. “But we have to ask ourselves if we have such a good plan why is the economy so bad?”

“We have not exploited the opportunities in the NDP,” said Dr Azar Jammine, Director and Chief Economist at Econometrix.

One of the problems Parsons has picked up is that there have been too many policies that have diverged from the plan resulting in uncertainty and unpredictability. “The credibility of the plan needs to be restored,” he commented.

Parsons believes the plan needs to be updated but not changed fundamentally, “We need to communicate the plan so that people in the street know about it. If we want to mobilise people we have to communicate.”

Implementation has also been challenging, “We spend so long on strategy that we think we have implemented when we haven’t even started,” said Themba Gamedze, Non-Executive Director at Sanlam. Gamedze and Parsons were part of a panel discussion at the SAIA Indaba.

Panellists and presenters highlighted that the need for action is urgent. Business confidence is low, economic growth is low and there is the threat of further downgrades from credit ratings agencies.

“We are running short on time,” said Junior Ngulube, CEO Sanlam Emerging Markets.

SAIA CEO Viviene Pearson said implementation is critical because it is implementation that will lead to progress. Over the last few years SAIA has taken a proactive role in finding and implementing solutions to the challenges facing the country.

SAIA initiatives include Business Against Crime, which the Association has been involved with since 2001, and the Motor Transformation and Sustainability Forum that identifies opportunities to support medium and small black owned businesses.

Guardrisk Insurance Company CEO, Herman Schoeman, pointed out that SAIA is the largest contributor to Business Against Crime. Crime erodes confidence and increases insurance costs – crime fighting initiatives that reduce crime improve confidence and make insurance more affordable.

As good as the initiatives have been, SAIA is confident it can do more.

“We believe that as an industry we are uniquely placed to make an even greater contribution,” Lambrechts said.

The industry can contribute skills, noted Ngulube, who suggested deploying experts to municipalities to deal with practical issues. “The problems sit on the ground, this is where we need to address them.”

“We must be an active party to achieving sustainable and inclusive growth in the economy and our society,” concluded Lambrechts.

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