HEARD street on the
NOMATTER NDEBELE Spokesperson for Section27
The nongovernmental organisation (NGO) hopes that the budget speech will see more money allocated to an education infrastructure grant for the building and maintenance of essential facilities.
As a public interest law centre which seeks to achieve access to healthcare and basic education for all, Section27 wants to see a conditional grant being given for learner-teacher support material such as text books, stationery and teaching aids, as well as for costs such as lights and water.
The NGO also wants more funding for a community healthcare worker programme as well as for mental health.
In addition, it wants conditional grants for the National Health Insurance system to be better directed, planned and monitored.
And Section27 is looking forward to the implementation of a sugar-sweetened beverage tax.
TANYA COHEN CEO of Business Unity SA
While business recognises that revenue increases are required, the weakness in the economy means that these need to be kept to a minimum and done in the least damaging manner.
We support further fiscal consolidation and cost containment measures that will not damage inclusive growth and prospects for private investments.
We also need to see strong and concerted government action regarding the governance and operations of stateowned enterprises.
We trust that the revenue shortfalls are raised in a manner that is least disruptive to economic growth and employment, and that resources will be used efficiently and effectively.
DUMISANI MPAFA Deputy president: Black Management Forum (BMF)
As a follow-up to the recent state of the nation address, which touched on the need for radical economic transformation to be implemented, the BMF would like to see Treasury affirm this.
We would also like the minister to address inequality, assist small business and focus on accelerating economic growth.
In addition, the BMF would like to see more funding going to the black industrialists development programme and state-owned enterprises being given more freedom to allow for true transformation.
There has been much speculation around tax hikes, but the BMF hopes this can be avoided as tax increases will affect poor people the most.
If there is a tax increase, it should not be in the form of a value-added tax hike. The increase should rather apply to personal income tax. On Wednesday, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan will present his 2017 budget speech to Parliament, at a time when our economy is stagnating. Here is what key people in business and labour are hoping he will deliver:
ALAN MUKOKI CEO: SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry
There should be no increase in taxes, be they corporate or personal income taxes. Inflation is moving up and the economy is growing very slowly. The government also needs to deal decisively with the issue of student fees, especially when it comes to those students who cannot afford to go to university.
DENNIS GEORGE General secretary: The Federation of Unions of SA
The finance minister needs to ensure that his budget speech has a positive effect on growth and jobs. The minister also needs to ensure that government spending entails spending the tax revenue wisely so that the private sector invests in the economy.
NICKY WEIMAR, DENNIS DYKES AND ISAAC MATSHEGO Nedbank economists
Little tax relief is expected. There may be some relief on thresholds at the lower income levels, but personal tax rates are likely to increase.
Tax relief for companies will be limited to selective incentives for some industries, while the rates applying to indirect taxes – particularly the fuel levy – will probably be raised aggressively.
Constraints in government spending will be essential to reassure ratings agencies that government is serious about reducing the budget deficit and stabilising public debt.
JOHANN ELS Old Mutual Investment Group economist
The upcoming budget speech will be a critical one, given that there is no more room for the upward revision of deficit targets, as seen over the past few years. As a result of the current slow growth environment, the tax increases and expenditure cuts set out in October’s medium-term budget have to be adhered to if Treasury is to deliver a positive budget.
With the current fiscal year running R5 billion short because of slower tax growth and slight overspending, the minister will need to go bigger on tax increases and expenditure cuts this year to make this up.
While most economists are sceptical about the prospects of a hike on value-added tax (VAT), there is increasing talk of a 0.5% VAT hike, which would contribute R10 billion to the budget.
SIZWE PAMLA Cosatu spokesperson
We do not expect a business-as-usual budget, but one which will be in sync with the resolve of the ANC that this year must be dedicated to radical economic transformation.
As the labour federation, we expect the minister to allocate more resources towards government programmes that are meant to create jobs and to adopt policy positions that will kick-start economic growth.
The main priorities should be about addressing the triple challenges of high levels of unemployment, deepening poverty and growing inequality.
Cosatu expects to hear about tax increases only for those who can afford them – the rich. The current socioeconomic situation in the country means that we should not have any increase on VAT or income tax for lower- and middle-income earners. –