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2020 Nasionale Begrotingsrede – tyd vir daadwerklike optrede | 2020 National Budget Speech – time for decisive action

English to follow:

21 Februarie 2020

Die Minister van Finansies, Tito Mboweni, staar ‘n moeilike uitdaging in die gesig wanneer hy sy Nasionale Begrotingsrede op 26 Februarie gaan lewer. Hy sal bewys moet lewer dat hy tot fiskale konsolidasie verbind is in die konteks van ‘n omgewing wat gebuk gaan onder swak ekonomiese groei, beurtkrag asook ‘n potensiële kredietafgradering deur Moody’s. Die afwering van ‘n afgradering is heel waarskynlik bo-aan sy agenda.

Verdere besonderhede oor die implementering van strategieë vir ekonomiese herlewing, byvoorbeeld die Nasionale Tesourie se ekonomiese strategie[1] en die planne soos na verwys in die President se staatsrede, sal noodsaaklik wees om beleggersvertroue te steun.

‘n Balans tussen regeringsinkomste (belastinginkomste) en-uitgawes is sentraal tot dié begroting. Haalbare planne sal in plek moet wees om die begroting te balanseer terwyl die belangrikheid van ekonomiese groei in ag geneem word.  Die begroting moet ook die risiko van toenemende staatskuld aanspreek. Agri SA hoop dat Minister Mboweni die volgende elemente in sy begrotingsrede sal aanspreek:

  • Droogtehulp: Doeltreffende en vinnige regstreekse hulp aan droogtegeteisterde gebiede en landbouers. Landbou-besighede kan as agente dien om hulp te verleen met die verspreiding van droogtehulp. Droogte-verligting moet tot die beskikking wees van boere in die akkerbou-, tuinbou- en diereproduksie-subsektore.
  • Elektrisiteit: Elektrisiteit is ‘n sleutel produksie-inset vir die landbousektor. Boere is prysnemers, dus het stygende elektrisiteitskoste ‘n direkte impak op ons internasionale mededingendheid waar boere die verhoogde insetkoste moet absorbeer. Hervorming in die elektrisiteitsektor en mitigasie van Eskom se voorsiening-beperkings (beurtkrag) en finansiële uitdagings moet aangespreek word.
  • Grondhervorming en hulp aan opkomende boere: Meer befondsing vir grondhervorming en ondersteuning vir opkomende boere is uiters noodsaaklik. ‘n Uitkomsgebaseerde benadering, gekoppel aan tegniese en mentorskap ondersteuning, kan voordelig wees.
  • Biosekuriteit: Befondsing om Suid-Afrika se biosekuriteitsmaatreëls te steun en te versterk. Die uitdagings wat bek-en-klouseer bied, dien as voorbeeld van die behoefte aan meer befondsing ter versterking van hierdie maatreëls. Ons moet ook verseker dat daar voldoende kapasiteit bestaan in terme van die getal personeel met behoorlike opleiding.
  • Sukkelende munisipaliteite: Planne om munisipaliteite se besigheidsmodelle te moderniseer asook om hul bestuur en dienslewering te verbeter. Sulke munisipaliteite hou negatiewe gevolge vir die Suid-Afrikaanse ekonomie as geheel.

“Landbou is ‘n sleutelsektor om ekonomiese groei te ontsluit, tesame met sekerheid en ‘n gunstiger ekonomiese omgewing,” sê Nicol Jansen, voorsitter van Agri SA se Sentrum van Uitnemendheid: Ekonomie & Handel.

Die begrotingsrede sal voorsiening moet maak vir beslissende optrede en implementering met die oog op die herlewing van die land se ekonomie. Gegewe die belangrike rol wat die landbousektor in die Suid-Afrikaanse ekonomie speel, verwag ons dat die begroting genoegsame voorsiening sal maak om landbou se mededingendheid te bevorder. Dit moet ook landbouers, veral in die droogtegeteisterde gebiede ondersteun, sodat die sektor kan voortgaan om gehalte voedsel vir die land te produseer en ‘n bydrae te kan maak tot werkskepping en armoedeverligting soos beoog in hoofstuk ses van die Nasionale Ontwikkelingsplan (NOP).

Navrae:

Nicol Jansen

Voorsitter: Agri SA Sentrum van Uitnemendheid – Ekonomie & Handel

Dr Requier Wait

Hoof: Agri SA Sentrum van Uitnemendheid – Ekonomie & Handel

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21 February 2020

The Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, faces a tough challenge in presenting the National Budget Speech on the 26th of February. He will have to show a commitment to fiscal consolidation in the context of a constrained environment plagued by low economic growth, load shedding and a potential credit downgrade by Moody’s. Averting a credit downgrade will likely be high on his agenda.

More details on the implementation of economic revival strategies, for example, the National Treasury’s economic strategy[2] and the plans referred to in the SONA will be necessary to support investor confidence.

The balance between government income (tax revenue) and expenditure is at the heart of the government budget. There will have to be concrete plans to balance the budget whilst considering the need for economic growth. The budget must also address the risk posed by rising government debt. Agri SA is hoping to hear the following elements in Minister Mboweni’s speech:

  • Drought support: Effective and speedy direct assistance to drought-affected farmers. Agribusinesses can act as agents to help distribute drought relief. Drought relief should cater to farmers across the sub-sectors of agronomy, horticulture and animal production.
  • Electricity: Electricity is a key production input for agriculture. Farmers are price-takers, and rising electricity costs have a direct impact on our international competitiveness, where farmers must absorb rising input costs. Electricity sector reforms, mitigation of Eskom’s supply constraints (load shedding) and financial challenges need to be addressed.
  • Land reform and emerging farmer support: Increased funding for land reform and emerging farmer support is crucial. An outcomes-based funding approach tied to technical and mentoring support could be beneficial.
  • Biosecurity: Funding to support and enhance South Africa’s biosecurity measures. The challenges posed by foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) are an example that highlights the importance of increased funding to enhance our biosecurity measures. Equally important, we need to ensure enough capacity is available in terms of the number of biosecurity personnel with adequate training.
  • Failing municipalities: Plans to modernise municipalities’ business model, whilst enhancing their governance and service delivery are crucial. Failing municipalities pose economy-wide negative impacts for South Africa.

“Agriculture is a key sector to unlock economic growth, tied with policy certainty and a more conducive economic environment,” said Nicol Jansen, Agri SA Chairman of the Centre of Excellence: Economics and Trade.

The budget will have to show decisive action geared towards implementation to revive our economy. Considering the important role of agriculture for the South African economy, we expect the budget to make adequate resources available to boost agriculture’s competitiveness and to support farmers. Especially in the drought-affected areas, for the sector to continue producing quality food for the country and to contribute towards job creation and poverty alleviation as envisaged by chapter six of the National Development Plan (NDP).

Enquiries:

Nicol Jansen

Agri SA Chairman: Economics and Trade Centre of Excellence

Dr Requier Wait

Agri SA Head: Economics and Trade Centre of Excellence

[1] Economic Policy Division, National Treasury, (2019). Economic transformation, inclusive growth,

and competitiveness: A contribution towards a growth agenda for the South African economy.

[2] Economic Policy Division, National Treasury, (2019). Economic transformation, inclusive growth,

and competitiveness: A contribution towards a growth agenda for the South African economy.