from DION HENRICK in Cape Town
CAPE TOWN – SOUTH Africa’s agricultural industry association is looking forward to the National Budget Speech this week.
Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, will deliver the speech on Wednesday.
“The balance between government income (tax revenue) and expenditure is at the heart of the government budget,” said Kulani Siweya, Agri SA head of economics.
He noted that rating agencies and financial market role players would want to see a commitment to fiscal consolidation.
“The fiscus is under severe strain and a further downgrade from credit agencies must be avoided at all cost,” Siweya said.
Agri SA believes the budget speech is an opportunity to return to best practice, using the right instruments to cut unnecessary expenses.
“Whilst fiscal consolidation is crucial, any tax increases would have to consider the current economic environment and the potential negative impact that higher taxes could have on growth,” Siweya added.
In the upcoming speech, Agri SA anticipates support for the Land Bank, Agri Development Fund, land reform and emerging farmer support, electricity sector reform and plans to deal with corruption and poor service delivery.
Agriculture has shown resilient amid the economic turbulence.
“Minister Mboweni has a lot of pressure on him to make sure that South Africa’s books,” Siweya said.
“If he wants to grow the economy, the agriculture sector is the key.”
– CAJ News