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CDE calls on govt to present coherent plan to deal with public expenditure

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is scheduled to table the Budget on Wednesday in Parliament.

FILE: Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni at Parliament in Cape Town. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - The Centre for Development and Enterprise has called on government to present the nation with its plan to deal with public expenditure among other economic problems.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is scheduled to table the Budget on Wednesday in Parliament.

The institute has discouraged any announcements that involve random gestures about reining in spending and instead wants a coherent plan.

During his October Mid-Term Budget Statement last year, Mboweni announced several cost-cutting initiatives targeting some of the privileges afforded to Cabinet ministers and members of the provincial executives.

CDE's director Ann Bernstein said this was simply not enough to put a dent in ballooning government expenditure.

"If the gestures were part of the plan, in other words, that the top politicians will take the real pain and that the public servants are going to take some real pain because remuneration increases are absolutely impossible."

She echoed the sentiments of other economists, insisting that what the country needed was strong and bold leadership to make hard choices that would benefit South Africa’s economy.

"The government needs to tell the country how they’re going to stop the bleeding," she added.

With the exception of Treasury’s growth plan, which was endorsed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, government is yet to formulate a comprehensive plan to deal with the 29.1% unemployment rate and persistently low economic growth levels.