The unimpressive adjustment budget that was tabled by Finance MEC Mlungisi Mvoko in the Eastern Cape Legislature today is a sad reflection of the state of the fiscus in general.
The MEC failed to come up with any innovative ideas and out-of-the-box thinking to shift resources away from a non-core expenditure to core expenditure.
We simply cannot carry on in this manner and bold steps need to be taken to realign expenditure in the Eastern Cape, so people can get the services they deserve.
For example, no mention was made of how to cut the exorbitant costs of Cost Of Employment (COE), which eats up roughly 65% of the budget.
MEC Mvoko noted that the Education Infrastructure Grant, which already had to surrender R205 million back to Provincial Treasury, is currently underspending and there is a chance that more funds will be surrendered this year.
This is an indictment on the Education Department, where we will continue to experience underperformance due to lack of consequence management.
If the MEC really wants to bring long-term sustainability to the province’s infrastructure, the province needs to introduce the blacklisting of contractors who fail to deliver on the projects they have been awarded.
There has also been no progress made on the enhancement of provincial own revenue. The shrinking equitable share allocations, due to outward migration since the 2011 census, have necessitated that the Eastern Cape identify new sources of revenue.
The MEC concluded by saying that we cannot afford duplication of efforts and unnecessary seepages in public funds. Yet he has made no mention of the rationalization of state entities, which is exactly what is needed for citizens to get bang for their buck.