Finance Minister Mboweni on Infrastructure, Eskom and Job Creation

Big increase in spending on roads, libraries and sport

In his budget speech, Tito Mboweni remained committed to government’s R791 billion infrastructure drive.

“This is not an austerity Budget. Our fastest-growing area of spending is our investment in the future-capital payments,” he said. 

In the economic development budget allocation, spending on roads is growing the fastest – increasing at an average annual rate of more than 8% to reach R110 billion in the next three years.

And unlike the health and social development budgets, which saw budget cuts, spending on education and culture – which currently represents almost a quarter of government budget – will grow by 2.4%, this year. Arts and culture will see an 8% increase in spending, largely due to a R34 billion allocation to support community libraries, school sport and to drive transformation in sport.

Eskom’s transmission decoupling, and R41m for new SOE body

No new allocations were made to SA’s struggling state-owned enterprises.

Eskom received R56 billion last year, and, as previously budgeted, is getting R32 billion this year meant to “stabilise” the utility while government restructures it into three separate entities – generation, transmission and distribution. Treasury says that by December, the transmission division will be “legally separated” and that the separation of the generation and distribution divisions will be completed by December 2022.

The budget makes provision for an amount of R41 million to set up the Presidential State-owned Enterprise Council, a new advisory body that will help government “reposition” state-owned companies.

R100 billion for jobs

Last year, Treasury made R83.2 billion available for the public employment programmes, and another R11 billion will be allocated this year for the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative, taking the total funding for employment creation to nearly R100 billion.

By the end of January 2021, more than 430,000 jobs of “various duration” – including as temporary teaching assistants and in programmes to reduce landfill – have been created as part of a public employment initiative, and an additional 180,000 jobs are in the recruitment process.

More than R65 billion has also been allocated to help an estimated 89,000 artisans to register for training and to create more than 320,000 work-based learning opportunities.

Business Insider SA

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