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Liesl Venter - Business Pessimism Prevails

In the face of a rash of challenges, business confidence in Gauteng is plumbing new depths. Volatile labour relations, low productivity levels and skills shortages have all contributed to the shrinking economy with a reported decrease in GDP growth of 0.7% during the first quarter of the year on the back of the 0.3% contraction in the last quarter of 2016.

According to Statistics South Africa, the largest negative contributor to growth in GDP in the first quarter was the trade, catering and accommodation industry, which decreased by 5.9% and contributed -0.8 of a percentage point to GDP growth. The manufacturing industry contracted by 3.7% and contributed -0.5 of a percentage point to GDP growth.

CEO of the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), Joan Warburton-McBride, said real
efforts were being made in Gauteng to keep confidence up and support business.

"There is no doubt that we are going to face a rough time over the short to medium term," she told FTW. "There are efforts underway to assist and support business. The Gauteng premier continues to work hard and has committed to an infrastructure programme that will benefit the economy. There are also many supplier development programmes in place from the private sector that are very heartening as they showcase the extent and commitment of companies in the province."

She said while there was no magic wand to repair the immediate situation much could be said for the innovation being seen at ground level.

Article courtesy of Freight and Trade Weekly

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