26 February 2016

South Africa: Budget Well Executed

Pretoria — The budget process leading to the delivery of the 2016/17 Budget speech has been well-coordinated and executed, says the Presidency.

"The President is pleased with the outcome and work is continuing to implement measures announced by President Jacob Zuma and [Finance] Minister Pravin Gordhan," said the Presidency on Friday.

President Zuma delivered the State of the Nation Address on 11 February, which was followed by the 2016 Budget Speech by the Finance Minister on Wednesday.

According to the Presidency, President Zuma has praised the Minister and the Treasury team and Cabinet as a whole as this was a most difficult budget given the depressed economic climate.

"Work will continue now in government to implement the directives. President Zuma will be writing to Ministers and Deputy Ministers to formally communicate the new measures aimed at curbing expenditure within the public service.

"The National Treasury will also prepare official Treasury Instructions to departments on various aspects of the cost cutting directives," it said.

Ahead of the State of the Nation Address and the Budget Speech the President had engaged the business community who outlined some key issues that need to be looked into in order to promote the ease of doing business in the country.

The President will convene the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Investment Promotion early next month to discuss the issues raised by business and other matters related to easing bottlenecks and attending to the regulatory and legislative challenges that were mentioned by business.

The Presidency said Minister Gordhan and Jabu Mabuza, chairman of Telkom and Chairman of Business Unity South Africa, have been appointed as convenors of the government-business interface that is aimed at taking the investment promotion and inclusive growth drive forward.

The President will convene CEOs of top companies again in May to take stock of progress made on both sides.

Meanwhile, President Zuma has noted the rumours which insinuate a conspiracy against Minister Gordhan.

"These baseless rumours and gossip will not deter or divert government from moving forward with promoting fiscal consolidation and pushing for inclusive growth and job creation.

"The President, supported by Minister Gordhan and the entire Cabinet, are determined to turn the economy around, working with business and labour. The President has full confidence in Minister Gordhan and all his Ministers and Deputy Ministers," said the Presidency.

It added that the President will not comment on the matters in the media relating to the South African Revenue Service (SARS) which are being handled by law enforcement agencies.

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