Praise heaped on mini budget

EASTERN Cape experts yesterday unanimously gave Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan the thumbs-up for his medium-term budget policy statement, but said they would have liked more detail on some issues.

Rhodes University Business School Associate Professor Matthew Lester said the initiatives to reduce wasteful expenditure were the biggest surprise, while the prediction that inflation would remain on target was even more good news.

"Tax collection is on track in difficult times and this dissipates the threat of tax increases next year, which is more good news. Overall, I am impressed that Gordhan showed that he would not buckle under political pressure, but rather implement fiscal prudence."

NMMU Department of Economics Professor Emeritus Charles Wait said Gordhan had said exactly what the taxpayer had been wanting to hear for a long time "in cutting the cost of the gravy train".

Wait also welcomed Gordhan's directive that municipalities needed to "toe the line".

Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber chief executive Kevin Hustler also hailed the commitment to the monitoring of municipalities. "We call on the minister to keep a watchful eye on the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, as well as on the progress of interventions currently undertaken."

Hustler said he would have appreciated more detail on infrastructure investments, particularly in the Eastern Cape.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Business School manager of business services, Peter Grant, said it was encouraging that Gordhan had spoken about continued government spending to stimulate growth.

However, Grant said the minister was not specific enough on how the government would deal with labour disputes in terms of "a plan of action, considering that unionised salary increases were high above inflation". 

By Cindy Preller

Source: Herald