Finance Minister Tito Mboweni says the COVID-19 pandemic and the dire the economic conditions of the country have forced government to utilise the financial resources at its disposal to the best interest of the people.

Mboweni was speaking during the debate and consideration of the Appropriation Bill for 2020 in Parliament. He says a lot has changed in terms of the economic activities within a very short space of time since he took over the reign.

“What has changed Madam Speaker? Well, the economy has gone into recession, tax collection…and therefore collection revenue has declined very sharply. We, therefore, need to refocus our attention to what is now feasible and how we can help our people during COVID-19 pandemic, while we are still being able to support our economy going forward. Therefore some of the issues that the hounorable members have raised are going to be dealt with in the supplementary budget when we come back.”

Mboweni has also urged the House to support his proposal for a new zero-base budgeting approach. The Minister says old ways of doing business in a modern and changing financial environment requires new ways of allocating budgets.

“We are no longer as rich as we used to think we are. Therefore, we will have to adapt in the new situation. The new situation in my view, in observation, requires that we think seriously about going to zero-base budgeting. In other words, refocusing our strategy on the things we think we can do, refocusing our attention on the growth and enhance activities. No longer take for granted that the baseline that was there last year will always be the case going forward. We must start from scratch, prioritise growth, infrastructure and try and reduce all the expenditure which is not required,” says Mboweni.

Minister Mboweni will table a new budget on June 24.

In the video below, Mboweni vows to press ahead with structural reforms:

The National Assembly has adopted the 2020 Appropriation Bill introduced to Parliament this year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Standing Committee on Appropriations has urged government departments to spend their financial allocations in a manner that supports the fight against the virus.