Deputy Speaker, our government is working tirelessly to address the concerns that were raised by the rating agencies which include slow economic growth, sustainability of our state-owned enterprises, SOEs, and the rising government debt. Our collective effort must help the country not only to mitigate the risk of downgrades, but also to return it to a healthy investment rating.
It is in our interest as a country to unite in championing sustainable efforts to collectively address the concerns that are raised by these rating agencies. With clear focus and clear determination, it is possible to turn the tide. The world still believes in South Africa, and this interest was expressed when team-SA led by Minister Ntshaveni engaged with about 300 investors at the 2019 Nordic-African Business Association Summit that was held the past week in Oslo.
Together with the Nordic countries, we are looking into areas of overlapping interest, possibilities of co- operation in the blue economy, smart cities and advancing the digital skills for our young people. As government,
we continue to advance our domestic efforts towards creating enabling environment for taking up these investments.
In the short term, we need to speed up the implementation of the economic stimulus and recovery plan which outlines a range of measures to ignite activity and build investor confidence. We also continue to expedite the implementation of the 2018 Job Summit commitments, particularly on areas where businesses identified inhibitors to investment.
Business is committed to working with government in finding lasting solutions in the labour market to address crisis of job losses in the entire country. Under the leadership of the President, monthly meetings are being held with business and labour to monitor progress on the implementation of Job Summit commitments by all our social partners.
In these engagements, government has committed to identifying and dealing with legislative and policy inhibitors and improving the ease of doing business. We
are committed to ensure that we make it easy to do business in this country. The recently appointed Presidential Economic Advisory Council, PEAC, will play the much needed role of coordinating all these efforts and ensuring that all the necessary elements of sustainable economic recovery are put in place.
Our government continues to strengthen partnership with social partners, in particular, our on-going engagement with the private sector are focused on ensuring that the Investment Conference commitments made in the past year are implemented. We are encouraged by the reports that substantial investment projects that were pledged last year in the Investment Conference have entered the implementation phase.
We call on all stakeholders to continue with their support at the 2nd Investment Conference that would be held this year in November. This is a further opportunity to partner in advancing South Africa's Investment Book towards a five-year target investment of R1,2 trillion. Through this Public-Private Growth Initiative, PPGI, our
country will see growth in investment that will turn the economy around.
South Africa's participation in the African Continental Free Trade will promote and provide opportunities for locally manufactured exports in the continent, thereby expanding further investment opportunities in the country. Deputy Speaker, the establishment of the R100 billion Infrastructure Fund is another initiative of the Sixth Administration that is aimed at improving our fixed capital investment.
The other pillars include interventions to ease the cost of doing business, expanding the number of small businesses through the revitalisation of our township and rural economies, as well as macro economic reform and increase competition. Some of the immediate interventions include: Exploring alternative options to lower the electricity prices and eliminate potential load shedding.
Also, increase efficiency and reduce port costs to improve South Africa's global trade; the economic regulation of Transport Bill which will be presented to
Cabinet soon, will also assist. A review of the basic fuel price is being considered as part of a broader review of administered prices. In the bid to boost tourism, 82 countries will now receive visa wavers as part of South Africa's visa regime waiver.
A policy directive that will guide licensing of broadband spectrum has been issued already. Trade measures to safeguard key agricultural and other sectors, and protect local jobs will be introduced. Government's plan to revitalise industrial parks is in progress and three new parks have already been launched in 2019. Also, a new Special Economic Zone, SEZ, has been proposed for designation in Bojanala in North West Province.
Government has adopted the Khawuleza District Model that we were speaking about just now, which is beginning to play a crucial role in supporting local economic drivers at district level. Ultimately, this will lead to job creation. Deputy Speaker, in the advancement of our developmental mandate, steps are already being taken to improve the financial and operational sustainability of our SOEs, as well as improving governance challenges.
The restructuring of SOEs is expected to bring the much needed stability that will enable the entities to recapitalise and reduce the need for bailouts and guarantees from time to time from government. For example, the Spatial Appropriation Bill to provide additional financial support to Eskom for the current and the next financial year was recently passed.
This will assist in keeping Eskom afloat, while work of restructuring Eskom is underway. With regards to the need of reducing the debt, government has identified several possible fiscal interventions to narrow the budget deficit in an environment of uncertain economic growth. Some of these measures include the expenditure reprioritisation; implementation of austerity measures; curbing wastages and reducing the Wage Bill.
The road ahead in getting our economy to grow will not be an easy one, but our collective will to triumph is stronger and more resilient. I'm sure we will turn the corner. Thank you very much. [Applause.]