The Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, made sensible choices to manage the government budget and support the economy. The budget highlights a renewed focus on the importance of boosting economic growth.
The stance of limiting tax increases is welcomed and can help to support growth and strengthen taxpayer confidence. Plans to reign in the public sector wage bill is also in line with a strategy of fiscal consolidation.
Aspects of relevance to agriculture include R495.1 million to improve compliance with biosecurity and support exports. Further allocations include R500 million, reprioritised over the medium term, to finalise land claims and R500 million (provisional) for disaster management to respond to the impact of recent floods and the ongoing drought.
Whilst the fiscus is under severe strain, we hoped to see more support towards agriculture. Spending on agriculture, rural development and land reform remains marginal. Agriculture needs support to implement the potential identified in the National Development Plan.
Agri SA has maintained that the agricultural sector is the key to unlocking economic growth in South Africa. We hope that within the next year Minister Mboweni will come to realise the potential of agriculture and give the sector and the agricultural community the governmental support it needs and deserves.
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