SOUTH AFRICA TO RE-PRIORITISE ITS BUDGET

South Africa's Cabinet is working on re-prioritising the national budget to align it to the National Development Plan (NDP) and the Medium-Term Strategic Framework, says Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe.

"The National Treasury and the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) have presented their recommendations on work done in the past year to align the national budget to the NDP and the Medium-Term Strategic Framework," Radebe said here Monday.

Speaking after a four-day Cabinet Lekgotla (gathering( held last week, he said a joint team of the DPME and National Treasury had been at work on this since January this year. The government has also identified a set of budget priorities for 2017/18 which focuses on maintaining infrastructure spending, strengthening support for skills development and maintaining real levels of spending on the poor.

Work on identifying efficiencies and savings over the remainder of the MTEF will continue, added er Radebe.

At last week's Cabinet Lekgotla, a summarised progress report on the implementation of the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) for the 2014-2019 period was presented. The report concentrated on a review of key aspects of the MTSF to improve implementation in the next financial year.

"While acknowledging the work done to date on the Nine-Point Plan, it was also acknowledged that accelerated implementation is necessary to enhance economic growth," said Radebe.

The Nine-Point Plan, which is aimed at growing the economy, was announced by President Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation Address in February last year.

Radebe said the Lekgotla took place in the context of a continuing sub-optimal economic outlook, as well as the "ever-present" threat to the country's sovereign credit ratings.

The Lekgotla deliberated on the global and domestic macro-economic analysis, with further proposals for economic and fiscal consolidation in the next year and beyond.

"Global recovery is still expected to strengthen but to a lesser degree than previously estimated as Brexit impacts unfavourably on global growth. Sub-Saharan Africa is reflecting challenging macroeconomic conditions as its major economies adjust to lower commodity process," Radebe said.

The Lekgotla noted that other risks include potential vulnerability in the Euro banking system, financial stability in emerging markets, geopolitical risks, climatic and health risks. The medium-term framework sustains social gains in a weakening economic environment.

"The government remains committed to meeting its medium-term fiscal targets and will take additional steps to do so as conditions warrant," said Radebe.

He added that the Cabinet also resolved to initiate a national process towards the negotiation of a Social Compact between labour, business and government to stimulate economic growth and mitigate job losses

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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