A clear thread running through the Budget speech was a need to focus on improving education and boosting skills development and training, which is a solid foundation on which to build a stronger economy while fostering job creation, as well as a welcome move to meaningfully involve the private sector in various initiatives.
Increased spending on infrastructural improvements, including non-toll roads, rural roads and water, and incorporating involvement of the private sector in designing, building and operating key infrastructure assets augurs well for the contribution such projects - and the private sector - makes to transport, convenient access and local economies.
Consumers will be relieved that personal income tax rates have not been increased. However, minor increases in tax thresholds and tax rebates for individuals will not fully offset fiscal drag, thereby keeping household finances under pressure. With various measures being implemented to revive Sars capabilities it is hoped that this will ultimately help generate more revenue than further tax increases would.
However, further negative news and inflationary in itself, placing an additional burden on consumers, was yet another increase in the fuel levies, which rise by a significant 29c per litre for petrol and 30c per litre for diesel - and includes a carbon levy which will come into effect in June 2019.