HILARY JOFFE: Why Tito is making it easier to move money across borders
The philosophy of SA's regulators is that a more open regime makes it more likely companies and individuals will move their money legally
Tucked away in last month's medium-term budget, with its controversial public sector pay cut proposals and SAA bailout money, was a small but striking announcement on what we used to call exchange controls - but now dub "capital flow management". "Today we announce further steps to make cross-border business easier, including inward listings, loop structures and corporate foreign borrowings," said finance minister Tito Mboweni, whose cryptic comments were followed up with more detailed notes from the Treasury.
SA has been on a gradual path towards liberalising exchange controls since the 1990s and the steps announced with the budget were in that vein, even if they weren't earth-shattering. But they send a strong signal at a time when the government is borrowing more than SA saves as a country and the pressure is on from some quarters to grab more in the way of private sector savings to fund the public sector's ballooning debt burden...