DELIVERED BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
MR NAREND SINGH, MP
Overall, and after listening to the statement just delivered by the Minister of Finance on the Medium Term Budget Policy, and in giving him credit as to the frank and open way he has described the many challenges that face South Africa, we must note that he has not presented many solutions. For example, he mentions the need for structural change in our economy but there is no detail on this micro-economic structural reform that he mentions that we require to stimulate our economy.
It would seem that this is a policy statement cobbled together just to take us through to the ANC December conference , with all the surprises then set to arrive in the February 2018 budget.
Looking at the Statement though what is concern to us is that debt as a proportion of GDP is set to rise from 40 to 60 per cent with interest payments in servicing debt by 2021 comprising 15 per cent of our fiscal revenue. Tax revenues have reduced which can be understood by the current high levels of unemployment we see and the reduction in corporate profits, so in short what the Minister has failed to do is to provide the business investment sector with the necessary confidence that South Africa remains an attractive investment option. This Statement has unfortunately fallen far short in providing any real solutions.
Coupled together with all of this are the glaring supply chain management and compliance concerns we have with government and our State owned Enterprises and until these have been satisfactorily corrected we simply cannot allocate more fiscal funding as this would amount to nothing more than additional wasteful expenditure.
What is of particular concern to us as the Inkatha Freedom Party is South African Airways; Our national carrier has become a huge drain on fiscal funds and have recently in addition to the 5.2 Billion rands allocated to them by the Minister of Finance, been allocated with another 4.8 billion rands allocated to SAA. Add to this the 3.7 billion rands to the South African Post Office and you have a total of 13.7billion rands, which in anyone’s language is a huge drain on the national fiscus.
Corrective action must be taken post haste and the current mismanagement and wasteful expenditure at our State Owned Enterprises dealt with decisively. This can be achieved by additionally selling off some of the state assets and by doing away with many of the State owned Enterprises. Many of them should be closed down or alternatively, partnerships sought with private enterprise as many of the functions and services they provide can be provided more ably and profitably by the private sector.
In Summary, the Minister of Finance has not provided South Africa with much hope in this Medium Term Budget Policy Statement as nothing in terms of policy presented here will take the country forward.
Mr Narend Singh, MP
IFP Chief Whip in Parliament
083 788 5954