GEAR is the most viable strategy available to government. The major challenges are to develop and implement consistent public policies, build business confidence, gain the assent of organised labour, and keep on track.
GEAR’s hypothetical projections of 400 000 new jobs per annum and a growth rate of 6% are probably overly optimistic.
GEAR faces critical challenges in its economic and political environment. Economic activity is in a period of cyclical decline, which is unfortunate for GEAR’s objective of attracting investment.
GEAR is incompatible with the full realisation of many of the policy objectives set out by line ministries in white papers during the past two or three years. If GEAR is to work, line ministries must be brought on board.
GEAR has been severely criticised in certain quarters as a decisive move away from the government’s commitment to redistributing incomes, wealth and opportunities. But GEAR is a necessary precondition for redistribution through economic growth, whereas fiscal redistribution would be bound to fail, not least because resources are limited.