From Legal Brief Today

Investec has become the latest bank to join the growing chorus call from financial institutions for government to fast-track structural reforms to jump-start the economy. BusinessLIVE reports that CEO Fani Titi and Richard Wainwright, who heads up Investec’s local banking operations and is also chairman of the Banking Association SA, have provided a list of urgent issues they believe government needs to address to boost economic growth.

‘We’ve been quite clear that we do see growth in the SA market,’ said Titi. ‘But if the government does not implement structural reforms the overall macroeconomy will not grow at a significant degree in the long-term, so that could be a limiting factor.’ Investec joins a growing list of banking executives ranging from FirstRand CEO Alan Pullinger to Nedbank boss Mike Brown who have in recent months called on government to prioritise the implementation of structural reforms to address sub-par economic growth and record unemployment. Among the laundry list of issues the two Investec bosses believe government should tackle with urgency are over-regulation of business, the Eskom crisis, Transnet’s failing rail infrastructure and the general malaise plaguing SOEs.

‘We have to stop this unbelievable avalanche of regulations, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses,’ said Wainwright. ‘As a first step just stop – don’t even take anything away – just stop this ongoing regulation. The amount of regulation that our entrepreneurs have to comply with is just strangling everybody.’ Apart from over-regulation, Wainwright says government should put ‘every bit of effort’ into sorting out Eskom’s power generating woes and the general shortage of electricity capacity. One possible solution he mentions would be to further increase the threshold for embedded self-generation by private producers beyond the current 100MW.

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