Budget message was consistent - analysts

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Johannesburg - Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's 2013 Budget was consistent with the government's move to inclusive growth, analysts said on Wednesday.

“I think that the budget is another boost and confirmation of the government's commitment to the National Development Plan. This is positive,” said Edward Kieswetter, chief executive of the Alexander Forbes group.

“The minister's consistent message for inclusive growth and seeing the budget as the mechanism to address historical inequities is a strong reminder that unless we address the living conditions and economic enfranchisement of all, then the prosperity of everyone remains at risk,” Kieswetter said.

He commended Gordhan for increasing spending on social protection and health, at R268-billion, rather than defence, which was given R154-billion.

He also welcomed the fact that there were no major increases in tax rates.

However, Gordhan warned that if growth did not pick up there could be tax rate adjustments.

Laetitia Rispel, head of the school public health at the University of Witwatersrand, said there was less detail on the health budget.

“There was not very much on the health budget. He talked a bit about the healthcare as part of the social wage, National Health Insurance pilot project, but there was very little detail that was included,” Rispel said.

The health department received R133.6-billion for the 2013/14 financial year. A total of R10-billion of that would be spent on health infrastructure.

“It is good to know that money is being made available for health infrastructure, again it is difficult to comment because we don't know what the size of the backlog is,” she said.

Rispel commended Gordhan for taking steps to combat corruption.

Gordhan said the government was in busy establishing the Chief Procurement Office in the National Treasury to address fraud in the tendering process.

He said the Treasury was currently scrutinising 76 business entities with contracts worth R8.4-billion which infringed procurement rules.

The South African Revenue Service was auditing more than 300 business entities and scrutinising another 700, Gordhan said. - Sapa

Click here for IOL’s full coverage of the Budget


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