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2019 Nasionale Begroting: Geen reddingsboei vir die landbou | 2019 National Budget: No lifeline for farmers

English to follow..

21 Februarie 2019

Agri SA is teleurgesteld in die Minister van Finansies, Tito Mboweni, se eerste begrotingsrede. Minister Mboweni se begrotingsrede van 2019 het na landbou deur middel van metafore verwys, soos “dit is tyd vir ons om die saad van hernuwing en groei te saai”. Ongelukkig het landbou, buiten vir die verwysings na grondhervorming, betreklik beperkte aandag in die toespraak geniet.

“Geen melding is van die voortslepende droogte en die verwoestende impak wat dit op boere en boerderygemeenskappe het gemaak nie,” sê Dr. Requier Wait, Agri SA Hoof van die Sentrum van Uitnemendheid: Ekonomie en Handel.

Makro-perspektief

Die begroting beklemtoon hoe Suid-Afrika se gebrek aan ekonomiese groei, belastinginkomste belemmer. In die huidige ekonomiese omgewing is daar beperkte geleentheid om belasting te verhoog, aangesien hoër belasting teenproduktief sal wees om belastinginkomste verder te verhoog.

Persoonlike inkomstebelastingkategorieë bly onveranderd, wat geen vergunning vir blokkruiping gee nie, dus sal inflasie-aanpassings op salarisse verbruikers in ‘n hoër belastingkategorie plaas.

Staatsbeheerde-ondernemings bly ‘n ernstige risiko vir die fiskale raamwerk. ‘n Voorlopige toekenning van R69 miljard, wat oor die volgende drie jaar toegedeel is, is aan Eskom vir herstrukturering gemaak. Hoewel Eskom van kritieke belang vir die ekonomie is, sal die nasionale regering nie sy skuld oorneem nie. Dit is ‘n aanduiding aan Eskom om die onderneming weer op die regte spoor te kry.

Belasting wat die landbousektor raak

Verhoogde aksynsbelasting kan ‘n nadelige uitwerking op die wyn- en tabakbedrywe hê. Daarbenewens kan die hoër aksynsbelasting op sigarette, sluikhandel bevorder. Dit sal ook negatief inwerk teen die Suid-Afrikaanse Inkomstediens se betreklik nuwe, Onwettige Ekonomiese-eenheid wat die handel in onwettige sigarette moet bestry.

Die verhoogde suikerbelasting sal die plaaslike suikerbedryf, wat reeds onder druk is, direk beïnvloed. Brandstofheffings verhoog met 30 sent per liter vir diesel. Dié 30 sent sluit ‘n koolstofbelasting van 10 sent per liter in.

Ongelukkig word koolstofbelasting nie geoormerk vir omgewingsake of om klimaatsverandering te bekamp nie. Hierdie belasting sal eenvoudig reguit na die staatskas vloei. Gegewe die realiteit van klimaatsverandering, moet hierdie belasting eerder gebruik word om die oorsake en gevolge van klimaatsverandering te versag. Byvoorbeeld, ‘n gedeelte van hierdie belasting kan gebruik word om droogteverligting vir landbou te befonds.

Goeie nuus vir die landbou is dat die dieselterugbetaling van R3,22 per liter tot R3,33 per liter op 80% van die toegelate gebruik sal styg. Die voorgestelde nuwe dieselterugbetalingsstelsel sal in konsepreëls en notas, wat later in 2019 vir openbare kommentaar gepubliseer sal word, uiteengesit word. Ons hoop dat hierdie nuwe stelsel die verwerkings- en betalingsvertragings wat met die huidige stelsel ervaar word, sal oplos.

Landbou-ontwikkeling

Agri SA verwelkom die R3,7 miljard wat opsy gesit is om opkomende boere te help om grond aan te koop.

‘n Gemengde finansieringsmodel, wat opkomende swart boere ondersteun, sal oor die mediumtermyn ‘n verdere R887 miljoen ontvang om toegang tot finansiering te bevorder.  Daarteenoor is dit noodsaaklik om openbare private vennootskappe hierby te inkorporeer. Verhoogte deursigtigheid, in terme van hoe hierdie finansiering toegeken en gebruik gaan word, is ook nodig.

Ons hoop dat dit uitgebrei kan word om ‘n agri-ontwikkelingsfonds te stig wat gemengde finansiering en openbare private vennootskappe bevorder.

Ondersteuning vir landbou

Landbou het getoon dat dit ‘n bewese sektor is wat met die hulp van die regering, die ekonomie kan bou en fiskale stabiliteit kan verhoog. Die Nasionale Ontwikkelingsplan erken die landbou as ‘n groeisektor en sy potensiaal om werksgeleenthede vir landelike gemeenskappe te skep.

Terwyl die fiskus onder groot druk verkeer, het ons gehoop om meer steun aan die landbou te sien. Besteding op landbou, landelike-ontwikkeling en grondhervorming bly marginaal. Landbou benodig ondersteuning om sy potensiaal, soos uiteengesit in die Nasionale Ontwikkelingsplan, te bewerkstellig. Twee fokusgebiede sluit in:

  • Droogte-ondersteuning: Effektiewe en vinnige direkte hulp aan boere wat deur droogtes geaffekteer word.
  • Bio-sekuriteit: Befondsing ter ondersteuning en verbetering van Suid-Afrika se bio-sekuriteitsmaatreëls.

Agri SA hou vol dat die landbousektor die sleutel tot die ontsluiting van ekonomiese groei in Suid-Afrika is. Ons hoop dat Minister Mboweni die potensiaal van die landbou binne die volgende jaar sal besef en dat die sektor asook die landbougemeenskap, die regering se ondersteuning wat dit nodig het en verdien, sal ontvang.

Navrae:

Dr. Requier Wait

Agri SA Hoof: Sentrum van Uitnemendheid: Ekonomie en Handel

(S) 073 304 0932

***************************************

21 February 2019

Agri SA is disappointed in the Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni’s maiden budget speech. Minister Mboweni’s 2019 Budget Speech referred to agriculture through metaphors, such as “it is time for us to sow the seed of renewal and growth”. Sadly, outside of land reform, agriculture received relatively limited attention in the speech.

“No mention was made of the continuous drought and the devastating impact it has on farmers and farming communities,” said Dr Requier Wait, Agri SA Head of Centre of Excellence: Economics and Trade.

Macro view

The budget highlights how South Africa’s lack of economic growth is impeding tax revenue. In the current economic environment, there is limited scope to increase taxes, as higher taxes will start to be counter-productive for raising further tax revenue.

Personal income tax brackets remain unchanged, which gives no compensation for bracket creep, therefore, inflation adjustments to salaries will push consumers into a higher tax bracket.

State-owned enterprises (SOEs) remain a serious risk to the fiscal framework. A provisional allocation of R69 billion, spread over the next three years, was made for reconfiguring Eskom. Whilst Eskom is critical to the economy, the national government is not taking on Eskom’s debt, this is a signal to Eskom to get the business back on track.

Taxes affecting agriculture

Increased excise duties could have an adverse impact on the wine and tobacco industries. The higher excise duties on cigarettes could have the unintended consequence of further incentivising the trade in illicit cigarettes and counteracting the work of SARS’ relatively new Illicit Economy Unit, tasked with fighting the trade in illicit cigarettes.

The increased sugar tax will directly affect the local sugar industry, which is already under pressure. Fuel levies will increase by 30 cents per litre for diesel. The 30 cents include a carbon tax of 10 cent per litre.

Unfortunately, carbon taxes are not earmarked for environmental causes or to combat climate change. These taxes will simply flow straight to the government coffers. Given the reality of climate change, these taxes should rather be used to mitigate the causes and consequences of climate change. For example, a portion of these taxes could be used to fund drought relief and mitigation for agriculture.

Some good news for agriculture is that the diesel refund will increase from R3.22 per litre to R3.33 per litre on 80% of eligible use. The proposed new standalone diesel refund administration system will be outlined in draft rules and notes that will be published for public comment later in 2019. We hope that this new system will solve the processing and payment delays experienced with the current system.

Agricultural development

Support for agriculture

Agriculture has shown that it is a proven sector that, with assistance from government, can build the economy and increase fiscal stability. The NDP overwhelmingly recognises the agricultural sector as a sector of growth and its potential to create job opportunities for rural communities.

Whilst the fiscus is under severe strain, we hoped to see more support towards agriculture. Spending on agriculture, rural development and land reform remains marginal. Agriculture needs support to realise the potential identified in the NDP. Two example areas include:

  • Drought support: Effective and speedy direct assistance to drought-affected farmers.
  • Bio-security: Funding to support and enhance South Africa’s bio-security measures.

Agri SA has maintained that the agriculture sector is the key to unlocking economic growth in South Africa. We hope that within the next year Minister Mboweni will come to realise the potential of the agriculture and give the sector and the agricultural community, the government support it needs and deserves.

Enquiries

Dr. Requier Wait

Agri SA Head: Economics and Trade Centre of Excellence

(C) 073 304 0932