Johannesburg - Measures to deal with wasteful expenditure in government mentioned in the medium-term budget were encouraging, an audit firm said on Wednesday.
“The context of this medium-term budget is clearly a pre-election one and focuses on addressing the common question which is: ‘What is corruption and where is money being wasted?',” Grant Thornton's tax partner AJ Jansen van Nieuwenhuizen said in a statement.
“This is a very politically targeted budget with initiatives announced that will resonate with the larger voting public.”
Another tax partner, Louis van Manen, said the medium-term budget policy statement (MTBPS) had a good balance between addressing revenue and expenditure.
“If the implementation of the proposed cost saving measures do come into effect following announcements made today, then this balance is encouraging,” he said.
Jansen van Nieuwenhuizen noted there were no indicators or updates on the National Health Insurance (NHI). He said the NHI had been overtaken by the National Development Plan (NDP) agenda.
“The minister spoke today about the need to increase funding for education, but nothing specifically relative to health as such.
“My concern is that we need to start raising additional revenue by 2015 and we know that there’s a big elephant in the room, but there is still no indication as to when this is happening,” Jansen van Nieuwenhuizen said.
On foreign direct investment concerns, Van Manen said he was disappointed about the lack of clarity, which was needed to boost investor confidence.
“Some decisive comment about the mining sector and labour would have been useful,” he said.
Jansen van Nieuwenhuizen said the work in progress on the new promotion and protection of investment bill and a policy framework to protect and encourage foreign investment was encouraging.
This was because exchange control was still a big inhibiting factor for investment coming into the country. - Sapa