Thursday, 11 November 2021

Cape Town: Delivering his maiden medium term budget on Thursday, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana says policy statement is about navigating South Africa’s path to economic and social recovery by expediting the implementation of structural reforms.

He said this as South Africa, like nations of the world, continues to emerge from the devastation caused by the Coronavirus pandemic that has destroyed lives and livelihoods in its wake.

“The 2021 Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement is about navigating South Africa’s path to economic and social recovery, drawing on the resilience of her people as well as restoring the sustainability of our public finances and the dignity of our people in the face of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic,” Godongwana said when tabling his speech.

Godongwana said the medium-term budget charts a course that demonstrates government’s unflinching commitment to fiscal sustainability, enabling long-term growth by narrowing the budget deficit and stabilising debt.

“Critical to the fiscal path we have chosen is the need to be clear and unambiguous on the trade-offs we are willing to make as a nation. We cannot do everything we want at the same time.

“Equally important is the faster implementation of structural reforms to unlock greater private sector investment, economic growth and job creation.”

SA’s path to recovery comes in the wake of a devastating pandemic that is also likely to leave deep and long-lasting scars on the global economy, the Minister said.

He said the scarring impact of the crisis is evident in increased debt levels, income vulnerabilities, while unemployment, poverty and inequality are deepening.

This, he said – coupled with the recent riots that took lives and destroyed businesses and infrastructure in most parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng – were indicative of a “crisis like no other”.

Godongwana said despite this, SA citizens remained resilient in the face of extreme difficulties.

“A fast-growing economy will allow for greater revenue collection, making it possible for more comprehensive responses to the challenges we face,” he said.

He said the reforms must be focused on improving competitiveness, productivity, investment and employment.

“Our first immediate task, in this regard, must be to ensure stable energy supply, reduce the risk of load-shedding and accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources.”