Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba Picture: Reuters

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba is expected to deliver his first Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) in Parliament later today.

The MTBPS is a government report that provides information on the country’s economic context, fiscal objectives, and spending priorities over a three-year period. The statement is set to begin at 2pm on 25 October 2017. 

You can watch it on Youtube on the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa channel, major news channels in South Africa, or right here on the Business Report website or social media feeds.

Also read: Medium Term Budget Policy Statement explained

You can also follow the hash tag #MTBS or #MTBS2017 and #Gigaba on twitter to follow reactions to the minister's statement.

Pressure is on the Minister for his words to boost the country's economy. DA MPs David Maynier and Alf Lees, who are shadow finance minister and deputy respectively, called on Gigaba to take decisive action to reverse the decline of Africa’s largest economy, forecast to grow by a mere 0.7%this year. They want the minister to present a credible plan to boost economic growth to an average of at least 3%.


Also read: What's at stake in Malusi Gigaba's first budget?

The co-head of fixed income at Investec Asset Management, Nazmeera Moola, on Friday said that there was little sign that Gigaba had the stomach to significantly cut expenditure in coming years, without meaningful fiscal consolidation. 

“Both Eskom and Transnet appear to be running short on liquidity, but it is hardly surprising that these companies are unable to access financial markets locally. It would be difficult to justify investing further pension savings in the debt of institutions with questionable governance,” Moola said. 

The rating agencies have highlighted the slow pace of economic growth as a weakness to the country’s sovereign rating.

Have you read: Rating agencies look as Gigaba’s first mini-budget presentation looms

Meanwhile, in a statement, Cosatu said this policy statement comes at a time when the economy has barely recovered from the technical recession and is yet to pull through towards a firm growth trajectory.

The labour union federation highlighted that South Africa was struggling with the real unemployment rate of 38 percent, with close to 10 million people struggling to get jobs and more than half a million jobs lost in two years, and 17 million people on welfare.

Cosatu said things were made worse by the dramatic Cabinet reshuffles in March and October that saw ministers in key portfolios fired, and two sovereign rating agencies downgrading South Africa to junk status.  

Also read: Cosatu anxious about mini-budget, hopeful Gigaba will rise to occasion

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- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE