South Africa: Budget 2018 - Business Stoic While Labour Fumes

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New Dawn

Though much of the immediate response to Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba's Budget focused on the impending pain for individual consumers, South African business and industry will also be affected: from setting up the systems to process the VAT increase, to preparing for 2019's confirmed carbon taxes. Labour, meanwhile, has responded to the Budget with disappointment.

The 2018 Budget may have been hard-hitting - but "radical" it was not.

Amid escalating rhetoric about "radical economic empowerment" in recent years, the word "radical" featured just once in Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba's speech.

In a press statement, Grant Thornton's head of advisory services Gillian Saunders termed this a welcome change. The "highly charged" term, Saunders suggested, "often scares and hinders investors".

Among South African business generally, there appeared to be a sense of cautious relief that hard decisions were being taken now to address the country's deficit and avoid a further ratings downgrade.

The Chamber of Mines termed the Budget "tough but necessary". It said that "while the tax policy measures announced today may be painful, the Chamber is of the view that these are necessary to stabilise investment ratings in order to encourage investment going forward".

Banking Association South...

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