OPINION: Four main positives in tabled Supplementary Budget
DURBAN - There were four main positives in the Supplementary Budget tabled today by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, all of them related to saving jobs and creating new employment.
This is the biggest challenge the country faces in trying to repair the economic damage done by the Covid-19 pandemic, and obviously vital for both the rental and purchase sectors of the real estate market.
The first positive, he says, was the news that the Loan Guarantee Scheme for small businesses is now up and running and has already advanced some R10 million to help companies that lost money during the lockdown or that need help to restart. Every enterprise that can be saved also means jobs that are being preserved.
“The second positive is the R100 billion allocation over the medium-term for specific programmes to promote new employment – which is critical with the unemployment rate having reached 30,1 percent at the end of March being set to increase even more over the next few months. These programmes include a revamped public employment programme and the presidential youth employment intervention. A total of R27,7 billion has been found to support these initiatives in the current financial year.”
Thirdly, says Kotze, it is welcome news that government is determined now to shift public sector spending away from consumption and into investment – and specifically R100 billion of investment in better infrastructure, including roads, railways, harbours and sustainable energy. Such projects are usually also major job creators.
And finally we are encouraged by the decision to recapitalise the Land Bank. The R3 billion involved is a relatively small expense for the fiscus, but will save many farmers from going under – and in the process ensure continued food security for SA while saving many thousands of agricultural jobs.
Gerhard Kotze is the Managing Director of the RealNet estate agency group
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE