Finance minister Tito Mboweni said on Thursday that he was looking at presenting his Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) at an earlier date than the announced October 30. File Photo: IOL

JOHANNESBURG – Finance minister Tito Mboweni said on Thursday that he was looking at presenting his Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) at an earlier date than the announced October 30.

This comes after National Treasury shifted the MTBPS from the usual week of 23 October due to international commitments by both Mboweni and President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Speaking ahead of the 3rd colloquium on the SA economy in Pretoria, Mboweni said that Ramaphosa would be out of the country on the planned date.

“I need to say here that the MTBPS is likely to be presented earlier than the 30th. We had initially planned on the 30th of October and planned it around the President’s diary. It turns out he will be out of the country,” Mboweni said.  

“So we needed to pull back the date. I’m saying this to avoid any rumour mongering in the markets. And the date we are looking at now is the 29th of October, but the Cabinet Secretariat will make the announcement probably later today.”

Mboweni’s much-anticipated MTBPS will be watched with a keen eye by investors and Moody’s Rating Agency as he is expected to table a complete economic recovery plan. 

Also expected is Mboweni’s announcement of Eskom’s and SAA turnaround plan, which includes the unbundling of the troubled power utility and the inclusion of private partners in rescuing the State-owned carrier. 

Eskom’s debt of more than R450 billion has been cited as the single largest threat to the country’s fiscus.

The power utility yesterday (WED) introduced rolling power cuts which may last for about a week as a result of a shortage of capacity due to a number of generating units going  out of service due to unplanned breakdowns.

Eskom reported about R21 billion after tax-losses in this last financial year, and said it expected to lose another R20 billion next year.

Government has given Eskom at least R129 billion guarantees for the medium term. 

Moody’s Ratings Agency, the only agency that still has South Africa’s sovereign credit rating above junk, recently assured that it was likely to maintain South Africa’s investment grading with a negative outlook in its next review on 1 November but highlighted Eskom’s unsustainable capital structure and called for urgency of turnaround plan.

Mboweni’s meeting with the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, economists and academics, and government officials, will be discussing the updated paper entitled “Towards a growth agenda for the South African economy,” that was published on the National Treasury in August.