Bob’s Weekly Newswrap – 14 August 2016
With the SA elections done and suited, and coalitions on the cards – or maybe not – I thought we do just a quick health check on how we are doing. The good news is that SA has regained its position as Africa’s largest economy in Dollar terms. This is after our currency gained more than 16% against the dollar since the beginning of this calendar year. The other side of the coin – pun intended – is that the Nigerian Naira lost more than a third of its value after the central bank removed a currency peg in June. The interchange between the two African Giants is driven by a few factors including the fact that the Nigerian economy shrank by 0.4% in the three months to March from a year earlier; and SA’s GDP contracted by 0.2% in the same period. Let’s not be fooled though, economists suggest that Nigeria is unlikely to be unseated as the largest economy in Africa in the long run, albeit the momentum that took it there is running pretty thin. For now though, let’s just enjoy this enviable position which pegs SA economy size at $301 billion, against Nigeria’s $296 billion.
On the downside – and it’s not like we didn’t see this coming. “Fees must fall” is due back! Students have sent us a warning that the mooted 2016, 6.3% university fee hike would spark bigger protest action than the one we witnessed early this year. Clearly, treasury has no money to fund the increase and the students are already making some perhaps utopian suggestion as to where the cash can be collected. The federal students suggest that politicians’ salaries be slashed and that cash go to fees, and they also want the commission to first make its findings known. “Free education”. This one; me thinks, is going to get uglier!
And finally, look out for another public servants revolt in Zim – treasury just North of our border has made it known to government employees that their payday will once again be delayed. Let me remind you Afropolitans, that Zim spends 80% of its revenue in state wages. Hear someone say, “something has to give”? As my kids always say in closure – ‘it is what it is.`