Mid-Term budget speech: 10 pressing issues Finance Minister Tito Mboweni addressed

In case you missed Finance Minister Tito Mboweni's highly anticipated mid-budget speech on Wednesday, here's a recap of the 10 pressing issues he addressed

  • 1. On South Africa’s expenditure

“national debt exceeded R3 trillion and was expected to rise to R4.5 trillion in the next three years. (If things remain the same) The national debt would most likely exceed 70 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2022/23.

  • 2. Economic growth forecast

“The economy is now forecast to grow at 0.5 percent in 2019 compared to the 1.5 percent expected in February. Growth is projected to slowly rise to 1.7 percent in 2022, supported by household consumption and private‐sector investment.”

  • 3. On Sars / Gross tax revenue

“Thank you to all those who have honoured their obligations. But you have told us that we must spend your hard‐earned money better, and we could not agree more.  We now expect to collect R1.37 trillion this year. This is R53 billion, or 4 per cent, less than we expected.”

Gross tax revenue needed to grow at 10.4% this year to reach the 2019 budget estimate, but has only increased by 3.7%. Treasury now projects a shortfall of R84bn in 2020/21 and R114.7bn in 2021/22.

  • 4. On Eskom

“I want to make it clear: the national government is not taking on Eskom’s debt. Eskom took on the debt. It must ultimately repay it. We are setting aside R23 billion a year to financially support Eskom during its reconfiguration.

  • 5. On cabinet’s/ ministers’ salary

“The President has agreed to guidelines on which cabinet, Premiers, and MECs’ salaries will be frozen at current levels, with the likelihood of an adjustment downwards; the cost of official cars will be capped at R700 000 VAT inclusive.”

  • 6. On South African Airways

“Operational and governance interventions are required urgently. I am pleased to learn that there are conversations involving SAA and potential equity partners, which would liberate the fiscus from this SAA sword of Damocles.”

  • 7. On the Development Bank of Southern Africa

“Government has made progress on a blended finance Infrastructure Fund. The Fund will be hosted by DBSA. A pipeline of possible projects amounting to more than R500 billion has been identified.”

  • 8. On the National Prosecuting Authority

“Through reprioritisation, the NPA receives an additional R1.3 billion, and the SARS receives an additional R1 billion for the next two years. These funding shifts will bolster efforts to combat corruption and improve revenue collection.”

  • 9. On e-tolls

“Not paying your tolls has already led to our roads deteriorating. We have been unable to maintain the network. I urge the nation to please pay your bills. We need to build a culture of payment, as government services can only be sustainable if all of us that can pay for services, do so.”

  • 10: On the Road Accident Fund

“The RAF levy increase is not enough to match the Fund’s R215 billion liability. We urge the Department of Transport to quickly resubmit the Road Accident Benefit Scheme Bill for Parliament’s urgent consideration. It will help stabilise fuel prices.”


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