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Kwanalu

The voice of agriculture . Die stem van landbou . Izwe lezokulima

BEGROTING 2022: Gulde geleentheid vir groei en werkskepping | BUDGET 2022: Key opportunity for government to use commodities windfall strategically for economic recovery and job creation

English to follow:

22 Februarie 2022

Ná afloop van die fiskaal korrekte benadering wat in die mediumtermynbegrotingsbeleidstelling van November 2021 gevolg is, sien Agri SA uit na ’n soortgelyke benadering in minister Godongwana se nuwelingstoespraak hierdie Woensdag.

Die korttermyn-inkomste wat die afgelope paar jaar uit hoë kommoditeitspryse verkry is, moet aangewend word vir ingrypings ter bevordering van volhoubare, inklusiewe langtermyn- ekonomiese groei en werkskepping. Die regering moet ook in die algemeen voortgaan met fiskale konsolidasie en strukturele hervorming.

Terwyl Suid-Afrika hom in ’n moeilike fiskale posisie bevind, het die fiskus oor die afgelope twee jaar ’n korttermyn-hupstoot gekry as gevolg van hoë kommoditeitspryse. Agri SA hoop dat die regering hierdie fondse sodanig sal bestee dat dit bydra tot ekonomiese herstel, ook vir die landbousektor.

Agri SA sien uit na minister Godongwana se terugvoering oor die vier strategiese prioriteite in dié verband:

Eerstens: Die begroting moet investering in kritieke infrastruktuur prioritiseer. Paaie, spoorweë en hawens is krities en moet in ʼn werkende toestand wees sodat veral die landbousektor op goeie voet kan voortgaan en die ekonomie as geheel kan herstel, groei en meer werkgeleenthede vir Suid-Afrikaners skep. Sodanige groei sal dan SuidAfrika se vermoë bespoedig om dringend sy fiskale probleme aan te spreek.

Tweedens: Die regering moet voortgaan om die land se skuld-tot-BBP-verhouding te verbeter. Die onlangse afname vanaf meer as 90% tot onder 80% teen 2025/26 is belowend, maar sal oor die lang termyn gehandhaaf moet word ten einde die ekonomie te stabiliseer. Agri SA sal ook let op aankondigings rakende salarisse in die staatsdiens en hoe die regering beplan om die uitbreiding van die Social Relief Distress Grant tot en met 2023 te befonds. “Ons hoop ook dat die begroting geen reddingsboeie vir enige sukkelende staatsondernemings sal insluit nie.”

Derdens: Agri SA sal graag wil sien dat die regering fondse beskikbaar stel ter bevordering van ekonomiese inklusiwiteit deur middel van beter toegang tot grond en kapitaal vir opkomende boere. Dit beteken befondsing om sinvolle grondhervormingsprojekte te implementeer eerder as verdere afhanklikheid van die rampspoedige Onteieningwetsontwerp, asook die nodige ondersteuning aan die Land Bank, sodat hy sy belangrike taak om finansiering aan opkomende boere te bied, gestand kan doen.

Ten slotte: Agri SA verneem graag in fyner besonderhede hoe die regering beplan om uitvoering te gee aan president Cyril Ramaphosa se verbintenis tot ’n vennootskap met die private sektor met die oog op ekonomiese groei en werkskepping. Belastingverligting, veral vir sakeondernemings wat swaar getref is, sal bydra tot groei en werkskepping. Dit is fiskaal moontlik, gegewe die kommoditeit-meevaller. Ander moontlike maatreëls sluit in geen toename in aksynsbelasting sodat die wynbedryf kan herstel, asook heroorweging van die Health Promotion Levy, wat ’n nadelige uitwerking op die suikerbedryf het. Hierdie ingrypings kan die herstel van die betrokke bedrywe bespoedig en werkskepping bevorder.

Agri SA deel die standpunt dat samewerking tussen die regering, arbeid en besigheid uiters noodsaaklik is met die oog op ’n suksesvolle ekonomie. Ons organisasie en sy lede is daartoe verbind om bestaande werkgeleenthede te beskerm, om nuwe werkgeleenthede vir ons land te skep, en om die landbou se opwaartse tendens te handhaaf. Ons hoop Woensdag se begrotingsrede sal aankondigings insluit wat bydra tot ons pogings om ’n volhoubare, veerkragtige en inklusiewe landbousektor te skep en wat voedselsekerheid in Suid-Afrika vir toekomstige geslagte sal handhaaf.

Navrae:

Kulani Siweya, Landbou-ekonoom Agri SA

Kabelo Kgobisa

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22 February 2022

Following the fiscally sound approach adopted in the Midterm Budget Policy Statement in November 2021, Agri SA eagerly awaits a similarly prudent approach in Minister Godongwana’s maiden Budget Speech address this Wednesday. The short-term revenue from high commodity prices in recent years must be directed towards interventions that will promote sustainable, inclusive, long-term economic growth and job creation. Government must broadly also continue to pursue fiscal consolidation and structural reform.

While South Africa remains in a difficult fiscal position, the public purse has received a short-term boost as a result of high commodity prices over the past two years. Agri SA is hopeful that government will allocate these funds in ways that aid the economy’s recovery, including the agricultural sector.

Agri SA eagerly awaits an update from Minister Godongwana on four strategic priorities to achieve this end.

First, the budget must prioritise investment in critical infrastructure. Working roads, railways and harbours are vital if the agricultural sector in particular is to continue on a firm footing and the economy more broadly is to recover, grow, and create more jobs for South Africans. This growth will in turn accelerate South Africa’s ability to address pressing fiscal challenges facing the country.

Second, government must continue to address the country’s debt to GDP ratio. The recent reduction from over 90% to below 80% by 2025/26 is encouraging but must be maintained over the long term to stabilise the economy. Agri SA will be listening for announcements addressing the public sector wage bill, and how government plans to fund the extension of the Social Relief Distress Grant to 2023. We also hope that the budget will not include any unbudgeted bailouts to failing state-owned enterprises.

Third, we would like to hear government commit funding to advancing the economy’s inclusivity through greater access to land and capital for emerging farmers. This means funding to implement meaningful land reform projects rather than continued reliance on the disastrous Expropriation Bill, and support for the Land Bank to carry out its critical function of providing capital to emerging farmers.

Finally, Agri SA would like to hear the detail of how government will action President Ramaphosa’s commitment to partner with the private sector for economic growth and job creation. Tax relief for hard hit businesses in particular will enable their growth and encourage job creation. This is fiscally feasible in light of the commodities revenue windfall. Other measures might include a no increase of the excise tax, to help the wine industry recover, and addressing the Health Promotion Levy which has a negative impact on the sugar industry. These are some of the interventions that would fast-track these industries’ recovery and promote job creation. Agri SA shares in the belief that government, labour and business must work together for our economy to succeed. Our organisation and its members are committed to protecting existing livelihoods, creating more jobs in our country, and maintaining agriculture’s upward trends. We are hopeful that the Budget Speech on Wednesday will include announcements that will strengthen our efforts to create a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive agricultural sector that can guarantee South Africa’s food security for generations to come.

Media enquiries:

Kulani Siweya

Kabelo Kgobisa