The MTBPS issued by the Minister of Finance today does not instil confidence. We commend the Minister for giving an honest assessment of the crisis SA is in. We also recognize that this MTBPS could not convey a good story. Unfortunately, the budget could only be bad news!
Debt continues to increase; the revenue shortfall continues to increase and there is no sign of the structural reforms sorely needed to create an environment for investment.
We are concerned that, even though we are borrowing R 2,1 billion per day, money is diverted into projects, like SAA, that have no chance of providing an economic or social return. This money could be better used to improve the lives of the poorest amongst us.
The Minister has committed to dealing with the public sector wage bill, one of the largest expenditure items. The budget commits to an increase of 1,8% in the current year and 0,8% over the 2021 medium term expenditure framework. We now need government to stay the course on this and ensure all of government is fully aligned behind the MTBPS.
The MTPBS refers to critical actions that need to be implemented immediately. These include:
• Improving the ease of doing business
• Creating a stable and predictable policy framework
• Adapting to a new way of work
• Issuing the RFP for the next tranche of renewables
BUSA has been urging government to implement these for several years, so this is not new! We urge government to move urgently to implement these and other actionable items identified in a social partner agreed document handed to the President on 15th September.
This MTBPS is valuable in that it is a very honest depiction of the socioeconomic crisis SA is in. The MTBPS should spur government on to action that will urgently create an environment for the private sector to lead inclusive economic growth. BUSA has committed the private sector to investing to enable growth, provided government pulls the levers in its control to create the necessary environment.
There is, yet again, no time to lose!
BUSA CEO Cas Coovadia