The nine provinces had, by the end of September, spent more than R82 billion of their annual budgets on education, National Treasury said on Thursday.

According to its Mid-Term Provincial Budgets and Expenditure Report, provinces had, halfway through the 2012/13 financial year, spent R189.2 billion (48.7 percent) of their combined budgets of R388.4 billion.

“Education expenditure, which at 42 percent is the largest item on provincial budgets, was R82.4 billion, or 50.4 percent of the R163.7 billion combined education budgets.”

According to the report's summary, this was an increase of six percent, or R4.7 billion, on the previous financial year.

“Health expenditure, which at 30 percent is the second largest item on provincial budgets, totalled R60 billion, or 50.9 per cent of the R117.8 billion combined health budgets.”

The provinces spent, on aggregate, R12.5 billion (46 percent) of their R27.2 billion combined capital budgets - that is, payments for capital assets.

Provinces had collected R6.3 billion, or 54.9 percent, of the budgeted own revenue of R11.4 billion.

Transfers to provinces in terms of the equitable share (the allocation of revenue to the national, provincial and local spheres of government) totalled more than R154 billion.

“By September 30 (this year), national government had transferred to provinces R154.5 billion of the equitable share, and R39.4 billion of conditional grants.” - Sapa