EC budget expectations: cut waste and boost growth

The Eastern Cape MEC for Finance, Sakhumzi Somyo, will table the provincial budget for 2017/18 in the Bhisho legislature on Thursday, 2 March 2017.  

For a voice clip, click here:  Voice clip – Budget expectations – cut waste boost growth

The DA estimates that Finance MEC Sakhumzi Somyo will introduce a provincial budget for 2017/18 in the region of R61.8-billion in equitable share, R11.3-billion in conditional grants and R1.4-billion in own revenue giving a total of R74.5-billion.

MEC Somyo must do two things with this budget:  boost economic growth and ensure greater value for money expenditure.  Cut waste and boost growth and shift resources from non-core towards core-expenditure.  We need to get rid of the nice-to-haves and replace them with the must-haves.

To achieve this, the DA proposes that there should be a comprehensive expenditure review. The country and the province is now operating in an extremely tight fiscal space.  The MEC needs to spell out in no uncertain terms how we can extract greater value from our existing resources.

The DA believes there needs to be a comprehensive expenditure review taking into account every single line item in each department’s budget.  This should also extend to every municipality.  In Nelson Mandela Bay, the DA-led government went through 23 000 line items and managed to come up with savings of close to R200 million.  Imagine what the rest of the province could achieve.

The MEC needs to make clear how he is going to cut unnecessary expenditure and eliminate waste.  We want to see the shift away from non-core expenditure to core-expenditure.  This includes reducing the cost of our bloated bureaucracy — which eats up 65% of our budget — and cutting back on expenditure on accommodation, travel, conferencing and entertainment.  Last year our province was the biggest spender on travel and accommodation, coming in at R760-million.

Education has a bloated bureaucracy:  there needs to be a move away from non-core expenditure towards the core business of the department – fewer administrators, more teachers and more resources spent on schools.

The DA will also be looking for how the budget is going to boost economic growth, the impact on our youth and particularly how Wi-Fi is going to be rolled out in this province as this is an economic game-changer.  Under a DA-government the Eastern Cape will be a province of rising opportunity for all. — Bobby Stevenson MPL, Shadow MEC for Finance