RMB boss urges Govt to embrace reform starting with allowing miners to supply own power

James Formby, CEO, RMB

THE CEO of Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), a South African firm, has urged the country’s government to embrace reform and highlighted the ability of the mining sector to generate its own electricity as an example of a change that could be made.

“For the last year, the ability of the mining industry to self-generate electricity at scale is something that has been flagged and tabled, but not yet permitted,” said James Formby in an article by Bloomberg News.

RMB is the investment-banking unit of Johannesburg-based FirstRand Ltd., Africa’s largest lender by market value, the newswire said.

Formby urged the South African government to lend greater support to its finance minister, Tito Mboweni, who has warned of a looming debt crisis if costs are not controlled.

“As politically difficult as it is, the broader administration needs to give the finance minister more support,” Formby told Bloomberg News. “When any of us have a reduction in income we have to reduce our expenses. South Africa has to tighten its belt,” he said.

South African business has formed a lobby group B4SA (Business 4 South Africa) which has taken a comprehensive set of urgent reforms to the government which it says were crucial even before the Covid-19 pandemic worsened the country’s economic plight.

Proceeding with the sale of telecommunications spectrum to lower data costs and fixing cumbersome visa rules for tourists could also boost business and consumer confidence, the investment banker said. “We can take a number of steps that don’t cost the taxpayer money,” Formby said.

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