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CityPress - - Business - Justin Brown

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. –

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