The KwaZulu-Natal government was looking at other funding sources to finance provincial infrastructure and government-led economic development projects to mitigate the effect of its reduced share of the national budget, the head of the KZN Treasury, Simiso Magagula, said yesterday.
Speaking to The Mercury at the KZN Funding Fair in Durban, he said there were several avenues by which to get grants and other funding from national government programmes, the private sector and even international organisations.
"Billions of rand are available from the various funding sources in the form of grants, loans and incentives, but KZN departments, municipalities and other agencies need to target, motivate and apply for funding for projects that they may not be able to finance through their own budgets," he said.
The Census 2011 results, released last year, showed that KZN now had a reduced proportion of South Africa's population, overtaken by Gauteng as the most populous province. The consequence was that KZN's proportion of the national budget was reduced.
Finance MEC, Ina Cronje's provincial budget speech in March revealed that KZN's equitable share of the national pie would be cut to the tune of R5.68 billion over the next three years.
Magagula said yesterday that the KZN fiscus "had been compromised", hence a push by the KZN Treasury and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism to look at other additional avenues for funding for provincial and local government projects.
"The impact of Census 2011 results on KZN's equitable share of the national budget has prompted an even bigger need for focused funding initiatives in the province. This is one of the reason that we are hosting the KZN Funding Fair. While the majority of the projects presented are from the private sector, there are several municipality led projects and potential public-private-partnership projects," he said.
Magagula said there was no reason the private sector could not get involved in funding water and other infrastructure projects in KZN. He said the prospects for funding was vast, but government and KZN businesses needed to seize opportunities. Four municipality-led technology park projects were amongst the ventures put for possible funding to financiers at the fair.
Cronje said the fair, hosted in partnership with advisory firm Deloitte, was aimed at addressing the "disconnect" between funders and project promoters. She said the event offered a 'match making' opportunity, by introducing entrepreneurs and municipalities to potential funders for their projects.
"There are a number of funds available for sound, bankable projects but project promoters have had trouble accessing these funds in the past. The fair aims to help address this," said André Pottas, corporate finance advisory boss at Deloitte.