National Treasury seeks new ideas for development projects

The level of government subsidies for development programmes was not sustainable and alternative sources of funding needed to be found, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhantold a KwaZulu-Natal Institutefor Architecture conference in Durban on Friday.

Referring to funding, he acknowledged that the National Treasury was looking for new ideas on how to fund development projects and said it was working with metropolitan municipalities, which were capable of borrowing larger sums in their own right, to ensure they “borrowed wisely”.

Gordhan pointed out that the architectural profession could play an important part in driving spatial development to achieve growth. He said it was important to design the suburbs of the future “upwards instead of outwards” to do away with the need for expensive transport that was impacting on the poor and vulnerable who were travelling long distances to work or to seek job opportunities.

He stressed that strategic reform and targeted government interventions would be guided by the National Development Plan (NDP) and the President’s State of the Nation Address. Key focus areas would be fiscal reform, labour issues, infrastructurebank and capital markets and market regulation, besides others.

“The challenge is not to reinvent the NDP but to be decisive about what we should stop doing,” he said, challenging delegates to provide him with a list of do’s and don’ts at the conclusion of the conference.  He stressed that it was important to manage relationships between elite politicians and citizens so the latter did not feel disempowered and could be confident that those representing them would act in their best interests and not just certain sectors. He said government was looking at dealing with delays in regulatory approval for projects, which was a headache for investors.