#Budget2019: 10 top reads on Tito Mboweni's 'budget for the future'

2019-02-20 16:04

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni says although there are no quick fixes, South Africa is ready for renewal. Have a look at some of Fin24's top budget stories.


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Last Updated at 15:05

20 Feb 15:26

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20 Feb 15:20

Rand see-saws during Budget speech

The rand opened at R14.04 to the greenback earlier in the day but, at one point, plummeted to R14.35 during the first part of Finance Minister Tito Mboweni's speech, said TreasuryONE.

20 Feb 15:14

ICYMI: From Eskom to tax, this is Mboweni's budget in a nutshell

Finance minister Tito Mboweni's first National Budget came with no real surprises or shocks. Given the pressure-cooker that is state finances, especially those of struggling power utility Eskom, it appears to be a well-balanced act.

Government's central economic policy goal remains to accelerate inclusive growth and create jobs, said the minister, while ensuring sustainable finances by containing the Budget deficit and stabilising public debt.

In the light of the coming national election, Mboweni's cautious approach in a high-risk environment comes as no surprise no surprise.

20 Feb 15:11

Sars is being fixed, says Mboweni, as Treasury again faces shortfall

The SA Revenue Service (SARS) is being fixed, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said in his maiden Budget speech in Parliament on Wednesday, as he thanked retired Judge Robert Nugent for chairing a judicial inquiry into the tax agency.

Nugent presided over a judicial commission of inquiry that investigated tax shortfalls and issues of governance at the agency, hearing testimony about working under former head Tom Moyane and how global consultancy Bain was brought in to change parts of its operating model.

20 Feb 15:10

How the price of beer, wine and cigarettes will rise

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni may not have announced any increases in income or corporate tax rates in his maiden Budget, but as in previous years sin taxes – the taxes government levies on alcohol and tobacco - will again rise at above-inflation rates.

The increase in the excise duties are expected to bring in an additional R1bn in revenue, which includes R400m from tobacco products and R600m from alcohol. These form part of R15bn in additional revenue announced by the finance minister.

20 Feb 15:09

Mboweni: 'Speedy' Mogajane is a good Christian, but the Public Protector is a problem

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said he had full confidence in Treasury's Director-General Dondo Mogajane, and that he was reviewing Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's recommendation of remedial action on Mogajane's appointment.

20 Feb 15:05

FULL TEXT: Tito’s Budget in his own words

20 Feb 15:02
For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands - Isaiah 55:12.

20 Feb 15:01
Madam Speaker, this is a Budget that plants a seed for renewal and growth. It is all of our duty to tend the seed and see that it grows strong, tall and fruitful. It is a Budget for the future.

20 Feb 15:01

In summary, Madam Speaker, let me outline the highlights of this Budget:

1. We are taking tough steps to fix the fiscal position and state-owned enterprises

2. Our children are our future. Most of the spending goes to education, and we willstrengthen early childhood development and support higher education for the mostdeserving.

3. On land, we have set aside money to help our people buy their own houses, supportland reform, and transfer title deeds.

4. On electricity, we face tough choices on Eskom.

5. We are reprioritising resources towards the President’s infrastructure fund and awayfrom the wage bill.

20 Feb 15:00
I recall Psalm 23: “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

20 Feb 14:58
My thanks to Acting SARS Commissioner and Team SARS for persevering to restore the integrity of the institution, to the Governor of the South African Reserve Bank for his support and collegiality. To colleagues in the Cabinet, in the Minister’s Committee on the Budget, and all those that have supported us in this time.

20 Feb 14:58
Before I conclude, my thanks to the President of the Republic for his leadership during this budget process. A word of appreciation to the National Treasury Director General and his team. Their good humour and determination have got us through a difficult Budget.

20 Feb 14:57
Madam Speaker it is prudent to say that we are a shareholder in a number of multilateral institutions and this ensures that South Africa plays its rightful place on the continent and the world.

20 Feb 14:57

The final challenge is nationalism. In many successful economies, immigrants have been a source of dynamism. Narrow nationalism often leads to stagnation. We need to redouble our efforts to attract highly-skilled people to South Africa.

Professor Ricardo Hausmann of Harvard University talks of the “know-how” that these individuals bring. Their skills are complementary to our own. We need to free our entrepreneurs from stifling regulations and complicated taxes.

We will continue to work closely with our partners in the BRICS, the African Development Bank and the South African Customs Union.

20 Feb 14:57
The third challenge is rapid urbanisation. We cannot go on building horizontally, serious consideration must be given to “going up” as part of an integrated development strategy.

20 Feb 14:56
The sustainability challenge affects us all. Climate change is real. The steps being undertaken at Eskom will allow us to expand renewable energy, and the carbon tax will come into effect from 1 June 2019.

20 Feb 14:55

Our budget spending has to focus on getting our country ready for technology. The first step is to fix the education system. Government is rolling out a maths and science grant.

The Governor of the South African Reserve Bank is driving an ambitious FinTech programme, together with colleagues from the other financial-sector regulators.

20 Feb 14:54

The first is the rise of technology. Twenty-five years ago, the Budget was prepared on reams of paper, carefully stapled together.

I reviewed this speech on my tablet, and you can keep track of the speech on Twitter right now. By the way, it is at #RSABudget.

Who knows how the Budget will be prepared in twenty-five years’ time?

20 Feb 14:54
As we look to the future, I see the following huge shifts in society and the world.

20 Feb 14:54

The infrastructure fund is a central pillar of the Budget and of reprioritisation. It will accelerate R526 billion worth of on-budget projects by bringing in the private sector and development finance institutions.

In several instances the private sector will design, build and operate key infrastructure assets. In addition, government will commit R100 billion over the next decade.

20 Feb 14:54

We spend a lot on infrastructure. Four things will get us better infrastructure:

First is to create a sensible project pipeline.

Second, is streamlining the law to make it easier to build.

Third, better information for everyone.

And finally, is to actually build.

So far we are working on a wastewater treatment facility works in the Vaal, a solar water geyser programme and student accommodation. R625 million is allocated to the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the Government Technical Advisory Centre and the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission to strengthen project preparation in this context and on a speeded up basis, projects based on rural roads and water will be prioritised. Details on several priority projects can be found on the Vulekamali portal.

20 Feb 14:53
The budget is also about our long-term vision.

20 Feb 14:53
Thuma Mina. Pay your municipal bills on time.

20 Feb 14:53
Finally, service providers must build what they promised at a reasonable rate.

20 Feb 14:52
National Treasury will lead a process to encourage those, including government departments, who owe money to municipalities, to pay for services.

20 Feb 14:52
Collecting the revenue due to the state is the underlying foundation of our democracy, of building a nation, and it is our duty to pay for services especially if we can afford to do so.

20 Feb 14:52
We need to build a strong culture of payment in our country.

20 Feb 14:51

My colleagues at provincial and municipal level are working as best as they can to deal with rising wage costs and reduced transfers. Provincial treasuries and the municipalities have a partner in the National Treasury to work with on their constitutional obligations.

Grants such as the Financial Management grant, and the Municipal Systems Improvement grant are available. The Public Audit Excess Fee Bill tabled today strengthens the Auditor General’s role in municipalities.

20 Feb 14:51
Over the past couple of years South Africa has been grappling with corruption. We must root this out. National Treasury and the Department of Justice will work swiftly to support the establishment of the new Investigating Directorate in the NPA.

20 Feb 14:51
The South African National Roads Agency is allocated an additional R3.5 billion over the next 3 years to improve non-toll roads. In October, I emphasised the importance of the user pay principle. It is a principle that we should uphold. In any future negotiations, this should be borne in mind.

20 Feb 14:45
Our Help to Buy subsidy helps first-time home buyers purchase a home. As a pilot, it gets R950 million over three years.

20 Feb 14:44

Access to housing

Government continues to focus on supporting people to own their own homes. Funding totalling R14.7 billion over the two outer years has been reprioritised to two new conditional grants for informal settlements upgrading which will enable these households to have access to basic amenities.

20 Feb 14:44

Health services

In health, we need simple, effective interventions. We need more doctors and nurses. R2.8 billion has been reprioritised to a new human resources grant and R1 billion for medical interns. R1 billion has been added to raise the wages of community health care workers to R3500 per month. Finally about R319 million is allocated to eliminate malaria in South Africa.

20 Feb 14:42

Finally, the global renown of South Africa’s art and culture is an expression of our soft power and our heritage. Our public finance choices should reflect an intention to preserve and add to our cultural canon.

Officials from the National Treasury and the Department of Arts and Culture will consider proposals for the development of a new national theatre, a new national museum, and also consider financial support for the National Archives, a national orchestra and ballet troupe.

20 Feb 14:41
Fully subsidised education and training for the poor is government’s flagship higher education intervention. Over the medium term government will spend R111.2 billion to ensure that 2.8 million deserving students from poor and working class families obtain their qualifications at universities and TVET colleges.

20 Feb 14:41
Over R30 billion is allocated to build new schools and maintain schooling infrastructure. An additional R2.8 billion is added to the School Infrastructure Backlogs grant to replace pit latrines at over 2 400 schools. But to make certain these schools are effective centres of learning will also require parents to be a visible and constructive part in the governance of schools.

20 Feb 14:41

Improve the education system and develop the skills that we need

Learning and culture receives the largest share of spending as Government continues to provide access to quality basic and higher education, develop skills, provide training and contribute to social cohesion.

20 Feb 14:40
The Land Bank will support smallholders, and leverage partnerships with other financial institutions. It aims to disburse R3 billion in the next fiscal year.

20 Feb 14:39
A robust debate on land is taking place in South Africa. We are supporting private sector investments in agriculture by emerging farmers. R1.8 billion is allocated for the implementation of 262 priority land-reform projects over the next three years. R3.7 billion is set aside to assist emerging farmers seeking to acquire land to farm.

20 Feb 14:39
R481.6 million is allocated to the Small Enterprise Development Agency to expand the small business incubation programme.

20 Feb 14:39
The Jobs Fund is a vital complement to private sector job creation. The Fund has disbursed R4.6 billion in grant funding, and created well over 200,000 jobs since inception. The allocation to this Fund will rise over the next three years to R1.1 billion.

20 Feb 14:39
Government has allocated R19.8 billion for industrial business incentives, of which R600 million has gone to the clothing and textile competitiveness programme. This will support 35 500 existing jobs and create about 25 000 new jobs over the next three years.

20 Feb 14:39

Data costs must fall!

My fellow Minister will shortly be issuing policy direction to ICASA for the licensing of spectrum. I will work relentlessly with the Minister until this matter is resolved. This includes resourcing ICASA for this mandate.

20 Feb 14:38

Accelerate inclusive economic growth and create jobs

The private sector is the key engine for job creation. Government’s policy actions aim to end the uncertainty that has undermined confidence and constrained private sector investment.

The R300 billion worth of pledges made at the Investment Conference last year demonstrate that there is pent-up private sector demand if we grab hold of the opportunity. Visa requirements are being relaxed to make it easier for tourists to visit and invest in South Africa.

We have also increased the income eligibility thresholds for the highly successful employment tax incentive scheme. Jobs for 1.1 million young people are supported by this programme.

20 Feb 14:38

The President set us these five tasks:

1. Accelerate inclusive economic growth and create jobs.

2. Improve the education system and develop the skills that we need now and into the future.

3. Improve the conditions of life for all South Africans, especially the poor.

4. Fight corruption and state capture.

5. Strengthen the capacity and capability of the state to address the needs of the people.

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