Finance Minister Tito Mboweni told Parliament on Wednesday that over the medium‐term, consolidated government spending totalled R6.3 trillion as things stood. File Photo: IOL

CAPE TOWN – Finance Minister Tito Mboweni told Parliament on Wednesday that over the medium‐term, consolidated government spending totalled R6.3 trillion as things stood.

The minister said, when delivering the 23rd Medium-term Budget Policy Statement, that the government’s priorities were education, social development and health. They would receive R3 trillion over the next three years. 

“Approximately half of non‐interest spending goes to national government, and the other half to provinces and municipalities. 

“We have achieved many social gains over the past 25 years. Our social spending programmes can be sustained over the long‐term provided we make reasonable and prudent choices. 

“On our current trajectory, by the end of the three‐year framework, debt service costs will be bigger than spending on health and economic development,” the minister said.

Mboweni told Parliament that this year’s national debt exceeded R3 trillion and was expected to rise to R4.5 trillion in the next three years.

“Clearly, we need to do things differently,” said the minister. 

Mboweni said as things stood without any policy adjustments, debt would most likely exceed 70 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2022/23. “This is a serious position to be in. Our little Aloe is not doing well. It needs attention, like our public finances.”

The Minister said the country’s fiscal framework had weakened substantially since the February budget, mainly due to weaker economic growth and lower revenues.

Industry commentators from various sectors have expressed a common view that Mboweni has a tough task ahead of him as he seeks to present this year’s MTBPS.

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