Gigaba: Urgent steps needed to avoid Moody's downgrade

The Finance Minister says after the recent downgrade to junk status by S&P and Fitch, government will do all it can to avoid a downgrade by Moody's.

FILE: Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba speaking at his first media briefing  in Pretoria. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN – Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba says the government has to take urgent steps if it is to avoid a further downgrade by ratings agency Moody’s.

Gigaba was speaking after meeting with South African investors at Parliament on Thursday morning after a similar meeting in Johannesburg on Wednesday night.

The ratings agencies Standard & Poor’s and Fitch have downgraded South Africa’s status to junk, citing concerns about possible changes in policy following the sacking of former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Gigaba says the government will do all it can to avoid a further downgrade, including meeting with Moody’s.

“For us, in order to fend off a downgrade by Moody’s, there are urgent steps that we need to undertake in the form of providing clarity in the different policy programmes.”

These include taking immediate action to improve the financial performance and governance of state-owned companies – and providing policy certainty in the mining and telecommunications sectors.

Gigaba says the government will try to convince Moody’s that it is willing to continue on the course of fiscal discipline and reducing the country’s debt that was unveiled by Gordhan in the February budget.

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)