Mboweni vows to clamp down on corruption, wasteful spending

The Finance Minister put some flesh on the bones of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s stimulus plan to kick-start the economy, overhaul state-owned companies and fix weak governance and crumbling infrastructure.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni briefs the media ahead of the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement on 24 October 2018. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

CAPE TOWN - In a no-holds barred maiden speech, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has made it clear he’s ready to act swiftly and decisively to clamp down on corruption and wasteful spending and to woo the private sector to help get the economy back on track.

He’s put some flesh on the bones of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s stimulus plan to kick-start the economy, overhaul state-owned companies and fix weak governance and crumbling infrastructure in South Africa’s towns and cities.

The figures in the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement spell out just how bad the country’s economic and fiscal situation has become.

But Mboweni says South Africans can choose whether to let these difficulties break – or make – the country.

Mboweni says the president’s plan to fire up the economy and create jobs is doable, but depends on a sustainable fiscal position and low & stable inflation. That means reducing the national debt.

“We cannot continue to borrow at this rate. We must choose to reduce the structural deficit, for we cannot continue to have a wide difference between our revenue and expenditure.”

Curbing the state’s wage bill, and reconfiguring state-owned companies is another must.

‘Our current challenges with state-owned companies present us with an opportunity to demolish the walls that exist between the public and private sectors.”

Mboweni wants to avoid any further tax increases over the next three years, but this will depend on whether government’s spending ceiling holds - and the plan to ignite the economy gains traction.

READ: The full MTPBS

Speech by Primedia Broadcasting on Scribd