Concerns about Treasury asking public to discuss budget


With the National Treasury asking ordinary South Africans for their views in its prebudget consultation process, the open door to public comment on the national budget policy was met with concerns by industry players. Chief economist at the Efficient Group Dawie Roodt said revenues were the biggest role player in the South African economy and in most economies and the composition of taxes and state spending was very important. He said the budget was the heart of a democracy and it was important for the private sector to participate and make contributions to what the fiscal account should look like….

With the National Treasury asking ordinary South Africans for their views in its prebudget consultation process, the open door to public comment on the national budget policy was met with concerns by industry players.

Chief economist at the Efficient Group Dawie Roodt said revenues were the biggest role player in the South African economy and in most economies and the composition of taxes and state spending was very important.

He said the budget was the heart of a democracy and it was important for the private sector to participate and make contributions to what the fiscal account should look like.

“I am concerned because it is a little bit complicated and the public does not really know what it is about,” said Roodt.

“The public will say I do not want to pay but I want to get, which is the normal approach that was not sustainable.”

The policy focused on the use of government spending and taxation to influence the economy.

Governments used fiscal policy to promote strong and sustainable growth and to reduce poverty.

South Africa is one of five pilot countries participating in a Fiscal Openness Accelerator project established to help in improving transparency and enhancing public participation in revenue policies.

The other countries are Benin, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal, with the support of the US department of state’s bureau of economic and business affairs.

ALSO READ: National Treasury announces pension funds can invest in infrastructure projects

Roodt said what SA needed was political leaders who understood what the fiscal policy was about and made those decisions on behalf of the public.

CEO and chief economist at Antswisa Transaction Advisory Miyelani Mkhabela said the project was concerning on how the US would be closer to the SA and Nigerian budgetary policy decision-making process and the procedures which would further cause the two economies not to deliver economic development and transformation.

“The project will not assist in enriching the national budget process,” he said.

The project will not improve government practice and policies on public participation, he added.

“The US [has] almost two centuries [of] developed democratic economy and SA and Nigeria are too unique to be guided by the US on [tax] policy and pre-budget processes.”

– lungas@citizen.co.za

NOW READ: Uncertainty dogs SA economy

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