BHISHO SET TO UNDERSPEND ON CAPITAL, GRANTS BUDGET: DAILY DISPATCH

THE Eastern Cape government is again expected to underspend on capital and grant funding by more than R1-billion in the 2012-2013 financial year.

This was confirmed by finance MEC Phumulo Masualle after having been stated earlier by DA MPL Bobby Stevenson in the provincial legislature.

Masualle blamed poor planning and poor project management as the cause.

During the 2011-12 financial year, the province failed to spend more than R902million of its conditional grants.

Stevenson said education was expected to underspend by R430-million on the school nutrition grant alone.

“Children in this day and age should not have to go hungry because of bureaucratic bungling,” he said.

“It is totally unacceptable that school nutritional grants should be underspent at this level.”

Roads and public works is expected to underspend by R341-million, economic affairs by R173-million and human settlements by the same amount.

In the 2011-12 financial year the department failed to spend more than R470million allocated for housing.

“The ongoing patterns of over expenditure on personnel and goods and services on the one hand and under expenditure on capital and conditional grants needs to be halted,” said Stevenson.

Masualle confirmed that health, education and human settlement were anticipating underspending on capital expenditure at the end of the financial year.

Stevenson said rural development and agrarian reform was projected to underspend by R113.4-million.

“This department is meant to be a leading department in terms of job creation and it is failing dismally in achieving its core mandate,” he said.

Stevenson told the house that the province was projected to overspend at the end of the financial year by R1.079-billion, especially on accruals and other employee related payments.

Masualle said last week’s adjustment budget had made additional funding available to the departments of education and health.

“Education is therefore not expected to overspend. Health submitted a request for R1.4-billion, of which R948-million was for goods and services and the rest for unbudgeted personnel expenditure and improvement of condition of services.”

However, Masualle said most of the goods and services requested did not meet the criteria of “unforeseen and unavoidable”.

“Only R115-million has been made available in relation to goods and services. So with the budget allocated to them, they should not overspend,” Masualle said. —

 

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