Gordhan to spell out spending plans in mini budget statement

With growth at under one percent, the finance minister has a difficult balancing act to pull off.

Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan. Picture: GCIS."

CAPE TOWN - Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is expected to detail plans to keep state spending in check and nail down the country's debt when he delivers his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement today.

Gordhan will be spelling out the government's spending plans for the next three years during a joint sitting of Parliament this afternoon.

With growth at under one percent and demands on the public purse, Gordhan has a difficult balancing act to pull off.

Gordhan will want to show that he's not distracted by the fraud charges against him, and that his hand is firmly on the economic tiller.

First National Bank's chief economist Sizwe Nxedlana says, "His overall plan remains prudence and that is to stabilise government debt. He wants to do that by reducing spending and by raising new taxes."

Any new taxes will only be unveiled in next year's main budget.

Meanwhile, ratings agencies will be watching closely.

"The one outstanding thing that I think keeps the odds of a ratings downgrade high is the fact that the growth outlook is exceptionally weak."

Nxedlana says he's worried about is the government's lack of concrete announcements on policies that will boost the economy.