FS Finance MEC tables 2019/20 Midterm Budget  

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Free State Finance MEC, Gadija Brown. Photo: Seithati Semenokane

Free State Finance MEC, Gadija Brown tabled the 2019/20 Adjustment Appropriation Bill at the Free State legislature, held at the Fourth Raadsaal in Bloemfontein today.

Brown took time to reflect on the first six months’ spending in this current financial year. “Our initial provincial fiscal framework, as tabled in March 2019, amounted to R37.274 billion, of which R28.187 billion related to provincial equitable share; whilst R7.863 billion and R1.224 billion related to conditional grants and provincial revenue, respectively. We allocated R37.274 billion to all provincial departments and Provincial Legislature to provide for provincial and national priorities, including health and education which accounted for 69% of the total fiscal envelope.”

“By the end of the second quarter of the current financial year, the province spent R18 billion, which translates to 48.3% of our total fiscal purse. Although the province has spent 48.%, our intention is to continue to prudently expedite expenditure on areas where under expenditure manifests, particularly on conditional grants, with a view to deliver much needed public services,” she said.

Brown also mentioned infrastructure investment in the province, including:

  • Tshiame Transport Route with a project cost of R16.1 million and which serves the MAP-SEZ is currently at practical completion. This project has created 120 jobs;
  • Trompsburg Transport Centre with a project cost of R29 million is currently at retention stage;
  • N8 road section that belongs to the province with a project cost of R52 million has created 156 jobs. This project is anticipated to be completed by February  2020;
  • Department of Education is currently implementing sanitation project to eradicate pit latrines toilets across the province with a budget of R78 million in the current financial year in 156 schools; and
  • Department of Health has successfully refurbished portion of Mantsopa Hospital into an MDR-TB hospital.

The funds have been allocated to the following in-year pressures:

  • A total amount of R30 million is allocated to the Office of the Premier to address in-year budget pressures emanating from provincial bursary programme and to address pressures on goods and services;
  • R8.532 million is allocated to Provincial Legislature for completion of modernization of Legislature project and gratuity payments to former political office bearers;
  • R30 million is allocated to Maluti-A-Phofung SEZ through the Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA) for bulk infrastructure;
  • An amount of R2 million is allocated to Provincial Treasury to address budget pressures on municipal support programme;
  • R 9.6 million is allocated to the Department of Cooperative Governance for municipal support;
  • R10 million is allocated to Department of Education to alleviate budget pressures on the Learner Transport Programme;
  • R1.5 million will be received by the Department of Social Development to address maintenance challenges at various centres which caters for vulnerable children and elderly persons;
  • R2.5 million is allocated to Department of Public Works and Infrastructure to cater for office accommodation related needs by the respective departments;
  • Department of Police, Roads and Transport will receive R7 million to address budget pressures related to services rendered by the South African Post Office with regard to the renewal of motor vehicle licenses in the context of enhancement of own revenue; and
  • An amount of R1.865 million goes to the Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation to cater for promotion of arts and culture programmes as well as support to different respective sporting codes.

In conclusion MEC Brown said: “We are not yet out of the woods with regard to fiscal challenges. The fiscal consolidation stance is continuing and there is a concerted determination by National Treasury to bring down government debt.”

Seithati Semenokane

seithati@centralmediagroup.co.za