Policy gridlock refers to a stalemate between government’s three major strategy documents – the Industrial Policy Action Plan [IPAP]; The New Growth Path [NGP]; The National Development Plan [NDP] – which differ with each other and fail to offer a common and coherent view on government policy.
While all three reports emphasise the importance of employment creation, they offer conflicting assessments of what is obstructing employment growth; what kinds of new jobs could be created; in what sectors and at what pace.
IPAP promises 2.447 million jobs by 2020 while the NGP promises 5 million and the NDP looks to deliver on an ambitious 5.9 million jobs by 2020 and a further 5 million by 2030.
The three documents have very different ideas about where the jobs will come from. IPAP and the NGP talk about jobs in the ‘productive sectors’—manufacturing, infrastructure, agriculture, and so on—while the NDP expects most new jobs to be in small, services firms serving the domestic market.
The country needs more policy coherence. Government’s capacity to implement policies is limited, and the more confusion there is, the less likely it is that effective, job-creating policy reform will emerge.