Provincial Budget: Big shift needed away from Consumption Expenditure

The Democratic Alliance expects the MEC for Finance, Oscar Mabuyane, to introduce a provincial budget for the 2019/20 financial year, in the region of between R82 and R83 billion, on Tuesday, 5 March, in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature.

MEC Mabuyane must clearly outline how a shift is going to take place; from consumption expenditure to investment in infrastructure and economic growth. This is a key task, given that unemployment is sitting at 46% in the Eastern Cape.

We expect him to put clear proposals on the table, detailing how the provincial wage bill is not only going to be contained, but also reduced.

Linked to that, we also expect him to deal decisively, once and for all, with the high cost of public entities, where 1,939 people collectively earn R939 million, of which R31 million alone, goes to 10 CEO’s.

The MEC must prioritize infrastructure, repairs and maintenance to drive economic growth. With the signing of the Public Audit Act into law by President Ramaphosa the MEC must indicate how he will enforce the Act so that those that abuse public resources will be held personally liable.

He also needs to spell out measures on:

  • how belt tightening in this province will be implemented, as R1.4 billion is still being spent on non-core expenditure;
  • how the finances of failing municipalities are going to brought under control;
  • how red tape will be cut, so that investment can increase;
  • payments to businesses within 30 days;
  • the high cost of irregular expenditure; and
  • how to eradicate corruption.

Unless there is decisive leadership in this province, we will continue on the downward spiral of outwards migration and a subsequent loss of equitable share.

There therefore needs to be a clear focus on investment expenditure, and the cutting back of consumption expenditure.

It is only in this way that we will put our province on a new growth path where we can create a job in every home and build one prosperous province for all our people.