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Afgeskaalde begroting ondermyn landbou as spilpunt vir groei! | Scaled-down budget undermines agriculture as pivotal sector for growth!

English to follow:

22 Julie 2020

Die afskaling van die begrotings van kern staatsdepartemente verantwoordelik vir die herstel van die ekonomie, soos die Departement van Landbou, Grondhervorming en Landelike Ontwikkeling en die kanalisering van fondse na intervensies om die pandemie te beveg, hou ernstige implikasies vir Tesourie se beloofde onderneming om ekonomiese groei in die land aan die gang te kry.
Agri SA is van mening dat die salarisrekening van die departement eerder as die programme vir voedselsekuriteit, grondhervorming, produksiehulp (Ilima Letsema), infrastruktuurontwikkeling (CASP) en landelike ontwikkeling, besnoei moet word.
Die landbousektor is deur President Ramaphosa geïdentifiseer as een van die sektore met die potensiaal om die ekonomie te stimuleer. Die besnoeiing van programme wat voedselsekuriteit, grondherverdeling en restitusie, landbou-ondersteuning is egter met R1,89 miljard besnoei maak daarom nie sin nie. Verder is die programme Ilima Letsema en CASP met R276,7 miljoen besnoei. Dit hou enorme implikasies in vir opkomende boere wat afhanklik is van hierdie hulp.
Die salarisrekening van die departement wat op R4,44 miljard staan, is egter slegs met R300 miljoen besnoei. Dit is die olifant in die kamer wat die staat nie wil aanspreek nie. Die regering se onvermoë om sy salarisrekening te besnoei en volgehoue fokus op welsynsintervensies eerder as die ontsluiting van welvaartskeppende geleenthede, gaan die land duur te staan kom omdat dit ten koste van ekonomiese groei geskied.
Die begrotingstekort van R761,7 miljard wat voorsien word, teenoor die tekort van R370,5 miljard wat in Februarie geprojekteer is, is tekenend hiervan. Die bruto belastinginkomste wat gedurende die eerste twee maande van 2020/21 ingesamel is, beloop R142 miljard die aanvanklike voorspelling vir dieselfde tydperk was R177,3 miljard. Die SAID is reeds R35,3 miljard agter die 2020/21 teiken. Dit het Tesourie genoop om die bruto belastinginkomste vir die boekjaar 2020/21 vanaf R1,43 triljoen na R1,12 triljoen te hersien. Dit beteken dat die SAID moontlik hul belastingteiken vir hierdie jaar met meer as R300 miljard sal mis.
Vanweë die impak van die Covid-19 pandemie en gepaardgaande inperkings word ‘n die daling in BBP van 7,2 persent voorspel. Terselfdertyd is werkloosheid besig om toe te neem.
Agri SA versoek dat die regering en al die staatsdepartemente ekonomiese groei moet prioritiseer. En om meer in programme wat direk gemoeid is met aksies wat ekonomiese groei ten doel het, te investeer, eerder as om dié se begrotings te besnoei. Dit is wat ons land nou dringend nodig het.
Navrae:
Christo van der Rheede
Agri SA Adjunk-Uitvoerende Direkteur

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22 July 2020

Scaling down of the budgets of core state departments responsible for recovery of the economy, such as the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, and the channelling of funds towards interventions to combat the pandemic, hold serious implications for the Treasury’s promise to kick-start economic growth in the country.
Agri SA is of the opinion that the department’s salary bill rather than its programmes for food security, land reform, production aid (Ilima Letsema), infrastructure development (CASP) and rural development, should be cut.
President Ramaphosa has identified agriculture as one of the sectors with the potential to stimulate the economy. The budget cut for programmes promoting food security, land redistribution and restitution as well as agricultural support, by R1,89 billion, therefore makes no sense. Furthermore, the budget for the programmes Ilima Letsema and CASP has been reduced by R276,7 million. This has enormous implications for emerging farmers who depend on this aid.
The salary bill of the department, which amounts to R4,44 billion, was reduced by only R300 million. This is the elephant in the room which the government refuses to address. The government’s inability to cut its salary bill and its continued focus on welfare interventions rather than on unlocking wealth-creating opportunities, will cost us dearly because it is to the detriment of economic growth.
The expected budget deficit of R761,7 billion versus a deficit of R370,5 billion projected in February, serves as example. Gross tax revenue collected during the first two months of 2020/21 amounts R142 billion, while the initial forecast for the same period was R177,3 billion. SARS is already R35,3 billion short of the 2020/21 target. This has compelled the Treasury to revise gross tax revenue for the 2020/21 financial year from R1,43 trillion to R1,12 trillion, which means that SARS may miss its tax-collection target for this year by more than R300 billion.
Given the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and accompanying lockdown regulations, a decline of 7,2% in GDP is predicted. At the same time unemployment is escalating.
Agri SA urges the government and all state departments to prioritise economic growth and to invest in programmes directly aimed at promoting economic growth rather than reducing the budgets of those programmes. This is what our country urgently needs now!
Enquiries:
Christo van der Rheede
Agri SA, Deputy Executive Director