Economist not expecting crucial answers to policy questions in MTBPS

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana will table the policy statement amid high expectations of announcements about the status of social spending and the mooted basic income grant or something familiar.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - South Africans have been cautioned not to expect much-needed answers to some of the country’s burning policy questions from the Medium-term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) on Thursday.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana will table the policy statement amid high expectations of announcements about the status of social spending and the mooted basic income grant or something familiar.

Economist Mamokete Jiyane said that she anticipated that South Africans would walk out of the mid-term policy statement with as many questions as when they went in.

This is given the amount of work that still needs to go into some of the proposals which have gained momentum in the public discourse.

"In terms of what the social security infrastructure will look like, I think those questions will only be answered earliest in February," Jiyane said.

She said that the questions on the table were mainly about the design of the social grants programme but even that was still in its infancy.

"There are also people who are talking about a possible familiar kind of scheme which would mean you know you get grants to families which would eat up the child support grant, which is one of the bigger grant programmes we have. So I think there are big question marks around design here," she said.

Civil society and other sections of society have called on government to increase the R350 social relief distress grants meant to cushion the poor from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.