Rising deficits, debt hampering spending efforts: Godongwana

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Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana says continued growth of budget deficits and debt have undermined efforts to put a ceiling on main budget expenditure.

He says the main reason for the non-adherence to these measures, which were initially introduced in 2012, is because they were not binding.

In a written reply to a question from the Democratic Alliance (DA) Godongwana says the target of reducing and stabilising debt has been persistently shifted out, largely because of lower‐than‐expected economic and revenue growth, and large spending pressures such as state‐owned company bailouts and compensation costs.

The Finance Minister says the main budget expenditure has remained relatively high at over 29% of GDP over the past two years.

This has led the government to consider additional rules to provide an anchor for fiscal sustainability. Further details will be provided in the 2024 Budget.

He says fiscal policy will be aimed at a balanced approach that includes spending restraint, revenue measures and additional borrowing.

He also says he will propose new tax measures to raise an additional 15 billion rand in the 2024 budget. Godongwana says the government will need to borrow R563 billion in 2023/2024 compared to R515 billion last year.