Johannesburg - The budget shows South Africa can expand its
economy unlike many developed countries facing economic crises, the SA Chamber
of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) said on Thursday.
"The budget speech was a confident signal that South
Africa is ready to expand its economy," Sacci CEO Neren Rau said in a
"This is in sharp contrast to the fiscal woes of most
developed nations and Sacci welcomes the pragmatic approach towards management
of the South African public finances."
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan tabled his 2012/13 budget in
the National Assembly on Wednesday.
Sacci liked various commitments in the budget, including the
emphasis on the need for a business-government partnership to grow the economy
and the details on financing the various infrastructure investment programmes.
However, it said the 20% increase in the fuel levy would
drastically affect the cost of doing business, especially in the light of the
already high fuel price outlook.
"This will have a particularly negative impact on the
small and medium enterprises which are already facing severe sustainability
Rau said Sacci was pleased about the progress made by the
National Treasury in addressing provincial fiscal mismanagement and the plans
to address government underspending and misspending.
However, it would have liked Gordhan to give timelines on
how long the provincial interventions would take before restoring fiscal
Sacci welcomed the tax support and cutting of regulatory
hurdles for microenterprises.
"Sacci appreciates the intent and would like to see
this expanded to the broader SME (small and medium enterprises) sector,"
The tax breaks announced for individual savings products to
support household savings were also a good move.
"This would increase the pool of investment funds in
The chamber was concerned that Gordhan did not present a
strategy for funding the national health insurance scheme.
"Sacci looks forward to seeing details in the policy
document that will be published in April," Rau said.
He said Sacci would also have liked information on how the
public wage bill would be cut to sustainable levels.