For the first time since the advent of democracy, KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government today welcomed a team of senior economists from the International Monitory Fund led by Mission Chief Paolo Mauro from Washington DC.
The IMF team is in the province to research provincial programmes that are aimed at driving socio-economic development. Lessons learned from this visit will form part of the Article 1V Report to be published by IMF in the next few months.
Described by Mauro as eye-opening and interesting, today’s bilateral meeting between IMF team and KZN Technical team was mainly focused on the Provincial Growth and Development Strategy, Operation Sukuma Sakhe and visits to some of the major catalytic projects.
Few weeks ago KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu announced that as part of driving radical economic transformation, the provincial government will roll out a comprehensive list of more than 18 major catalytic projects. This will help realise a vision of ensuring that KZN becomes a prosperous province with a healthy, secure and skilled population, living in dignity and harmony, acting as a gateway to Africa and the World.
The province has budgeted to spend R12.041 billion in 2017/18, R12.250 billion in 2018/19 and R13.264 billion in 2019/20 on various infrastructure projects.
“We want to use the infrastructure budget to ensure that we create jobs and fast-track the entry of people from previously disadvantaged communities into the mainstream economy,” Mchunu remarked.
Tomorrow, the IFM team is scheduled to meet with the premier, MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Sihle Zikalala, MEC for Finance Belinda Scott and heads of the two departments respectively.
Mchunu quipped: “We welcome the IFM team to KZN. This visit, which comes shortly after hosting successfully, the World Economic Forum on Africa, gives us the opportunity to demonstrate to the IMF why we were voted as the best government department in the whole country towards the end of last year as reported by the Mail & Guardian newspaper citing the 100 Top Companies Index.”
He further pointed out: “Our message to the international investor community and financial institutions is the KZN government is committed to ensuring prudent financial management. We are fully aware that a clean bill of health not only attracts investors, but it also improves the public image of government.”
He concluded: “We believe that our improved financial management will better enable this province to grow and prosper. Our message is that KZN will never prosper in isolation hence we are inviting the global community to join us as we double our efforts to create an equal society.”
Issued by the Office of the Premier