By: Aviwe Mtila
South Africa is unlikely to achieve its National Development Plan goals and some programmes may have to be cut to meet unanticipated spending pressures.
This is contained in the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS), delivered by the country’s Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba, in Cape Town this afternoon.
The National Development Plan (NDP) was developed five years ago and culminated in a long term vision for South Africa, Vision 2030, which spelled out what was required to realize the country’s aspirations.
Among other goals, the NDP set out to grow the economy by 5.4 per cent yearly, and bring unemployment down to 6 per cent by 2030. At present, South Africa’s unemployment rate sits at 27 per cent.
The Finance Minister spearheaded his MTBPS by passionately giving a background on the NDP. Interestingly the actual MTBPS, seen by journalists’ hours before the minister’s speech, raises concerns about the NDP not being achieve because of the country’s current economic trends.
“It was absolutely critical for Vision 2030, which spelled out what was required to realize our aspirations for our society, and for all who live in it. That is what government is about, and that is what development is also about – putting in place the conditions for the people to realize their aspirations for themselves,” says Gigaba.
The MTBPS also notes that there will be no additional funds available to increase baseline expenditure over the 2018 Budge
As the country’s economic outlook takes a turn for the worst, with the GDP contracting by 0.7 in the first quarter of 2017, a stronger economic growth is required to return the public finances to a sustainable position. This will put South Africa back on a path of rising employment and increasing prosperity states the MTBPS.