Agri SA has announced that it is disappointed with the medium-term budget policy statement (MTBPS) delivered by the minister of finance, Tito Mboweni.

“Whilst the MTBPS does not include detailed spending plans or tax proposals, the minister could have given more recognition to the role of the agricultural sector and its resilience in the face of many challenges, for example, the impact of longer-term droughts,” says Dr Requier Wait, head of Economics and Trade Centre of Excellence at Agri SA.

Highlights from the MTBPS

The MTBPS gave a report and set out the context and assumptions that will inform next year’s budget. Highlights from the MTBPS include:

  • National debt is increasing at an unsustainable pace with expenditure continuing to exceed revenue.
  • Economic growth is now forecast at 0,5% in 2019 compared to the 1,5% forecast in February. Accordingly, revenue projections have been sharply reduced.
  • The consolidated budget deficit averages 6,2% of GDP over the next three years, while debt and debt service costs will continue to increase.
  • The growth outlook is too low and growth must be accelerated. The structural reform agenda and Treasury’s economic policy paper seeks to address this.
  • Mounting debt and debt service costs are a concern. Additional countermeasures will be announced in the 2020 National Budget.
  • Addressing the challenge of the government wage bill is vital.
  • Support to state-owned companies comes with strict requirements and an emphasis on improving governance and performance.
  • Infrastructure investment must be prioritised.

Placing greater emphasis on agriculture

Agri SA will continue its lobbying efforts for government to place greater emphasis on agriculture, to make adequate resources available to boost the sector’s competitiveness, and to support the sector, especially in areas affected by drought.

This will allow the sector to continue producing quality food for the country while contributing towards job creation and poverty alleviation as envisaged by chapter six of the National Development Plan (NDP). – Press release, Agri SA