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Anticipation mounts as Nation braces for Annual Budget Speech amid economic uncertainty

Azra Hoosen | ah@radioislam.co.za
21 February 2024 | 14:00 CAT
2 min read

The Minister of Finance, Mr Enoch Godongwana, is set to deliver the much-anticipated budget allocation for 2024 to Parliament on Wednesday, February 21st, at 14:00 in Cape Town City Hall.

The presentation comes against a backdrop of high unemployment rates, escalating living costs, and a challenging economic climate.

Parliament has stated that the budget speech serves to strike a balance between fostering economic growth and providing support for vulnerable segments of society, even within the constraints of limited resources. During the speech, Finance Minister Godongwana will articulate the government’s financial, economic, and social priorities for planned expenditure. This includes outlining proposals for revenue generation to finance governmental interventions and commitments for the year 2024. Additionally, Minister Godongwana will introduce the Appropriation Bill and present the Division of Revenue Bill to Parliament for further processing in the subsequent months.

Wits Business School Lecturer Lumkile Mondi elaborates on what the Budget is and shares insight in an interview with Radio Islam.

“South Africa’s economic growth has been dismal, marked by job losses, high unemployment rates, and a decrease in the number of taxpayers. This prevailing economic climate is the reason for the pessimism among citizens regarding the content of tonight’s budget speech,” said Mondi.

The National Treasury estimates a potential saving of R27 billion in the medium term by addressing overlapping mandates, discontinuing ineffective programs, and consolidating entities where necessary.

Mondi’s predictions for the Minister’s speech tonight suggest a focus on increased spending for debt servicing and supporting social security incomes, particularly in light of the upcoming election year. It’s anticipated that the Minister may convey limitations on tax relief for individuals, signalling an austerity budget. Mondi highlights the challenge faced by the Finance Minister in having to achieve more with fewer resources, attributing the situation to past inefficiencies in resource management.

Godongwana faces the challenge of sourcing funds not only for rapidly escalating debt repayments but also for struggling state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Additionally, he must ensure ongoing social support to prevent millions of impoverished and vulnerable South Africans from facing starvation.

LISTEN to the full interview with Ml Sulaimaan Ravat and Lumkile Mondi, here.

 

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