24 February 2021
With gross loan debt amounting to R5.2 trillion in 2023/24 and an estimated tax deficit of R213 billion, South Africa is fast on its way to a fiscal abyss.
Big question marks hang over the further R7 billion allocated to the Land Bank and the R816 million to establish new landowners through the restitution process. Not to mention how the 10,000 ‘experienced’ agricultural officials mentioned by the Minister will be deployed and funded.
“The 8% increase in excise duty on alcoholic beverages and tobacco will seriously jeopardize the sustainability of these sectors,” said Christo van der Rheede, Agri SA’s executive director.
The emphasis of the national budget should shift from welfare assistance to wealth creation. R1,2 trillion is allocated towards social services and a mere R207 billion towards economic infrastructure, industrialisation, innovation, science and agricultural development. R27,4 billion has been allocated to agriculture. It begs the question whether government is really serious about economic growth.
Whilst we understand the need for social interventions during this pandemic, everything must be done to free up the economy, eradicate policy constraints and end conflicting ideological pronouncements.
“Greater alignment between government ministers and their respective departments to spend their budgets wisely and effectively is now needed more than ever. There is no shortcut to get the country out of its economic quagmire”, Van der Rheede concluded.
Christo van der Rheede
Agri SA Executive Director
Agri SA Agricultural Economist