Budget 2013: Infrastructure spend in full focus

Solid implementation plans for the government's infrastructural development programme and the state's ability to fully spend its budgetary allocations will be in sharp focus when Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan delivers his budget at midday in Parliament on Wednesday.

Besides tax and forecast revisions the minister was predicted to unveil, an update on the progress of the government’s R845-billion infrastructure investment drive was expected by both analysts and opposition parties.

The plan – which was first announced in President Jacob Zuma's 2012 State of the Nation address – has yet to deliver tangible results for the country's infrastructure.

While government updates indicate the plan is making progress, the on-the-ground impression by construction companies illustrated a continual slow rollout of infrastructure spend.

For instance, the latest data from the South African Reserve Bank’s Quarterly Bulletin reported that government spending increased dramatically. But this was disputed by many construction and production companies, who claimed they were being forced to turn their attention outside of South Africa.

"We would like Gordhan to firmly assert the government's commitment to putting resources down on the productive side of the economy in his budget speech," said Coenraad Bezuidenhout, executive director of the Manufacturing Circle.

Support
According to the department of public works, government struggled to invest adequately on infrastructure, leading to an estimated backlog of R1.5-trillion.

"We have supported this government's infrastructure programme as an effort to roll back this backlog, but our research shows that there has been an average underspend of 22% on infrastructure in the past four years," said Democratic Alliance spokesperson for finance Tim Harris.

Harris said issues related to inadequate infrastructure spend were directly related to government and parastatals' inability to adequately utilise their budgets. In 2010 parastatals only spent 60% of their infrastructure budgets, according to treasury data.

"This year we hope the finance minister tables reforms to improve the quality of spending by government and the parastatals," said Harris.

Harris's comments were mirrored by Adenaan Hardien, senior economist at Cadiz Investment Solutions. "It is one thing for government to say they will spend massive amounts of money but to actually put your hands in your pockets and do so is another thing," Hardien said.

Hardien said the country's economic growth was being inhibited by slow infrastructure spend and inability to spend money where allocated to do so.

"A key for growth in South Africa has been government's spending through investment and this would only be further driven by solid infrastructural spending," he added.

Advertisting

Aggett tormentor had a ‘morbid’ obsession — Barbara Hogan

The former minister told the inquest into the trade unionist Neil Aggett’s death that security branch interrogator Stephan Whitehead was voyeuristic

ANC and the state step back from taking action against...

Despite alleged abuses of power and people’s trust, the ANC appears to have abandoned plans to reform the controversial Ingonyama Trust Board
Advertising

Press Releases

UKZN scientists make the grade

Dr Veron Ramsuran and Dr Lenine Liebenberg have been named in the African Academy of Science's top 40 list.

Wellcome Trust award goes to UKZN mental health champion

Dr Andr? J van Rensburg, a senior researcher in UKZN's Centre for Rural Health, received the Wellcome Trust Discretionary Award.

MTN gears up to deliver improved customer service

On 28 January, the first batch of MTN contract customers will be migrated onto the new customer service platform.

Request for expression of interest on analysis of quality and outcome indicators for regional and district hospitals in Lesotho

Introduction The Ministry of Health of Lesotho with the support of the World Bank funded Nutrition and Health Systems Strengthening...

MiX Telematics enhances in-vehicle video camera solution

The company has launched the gold MiX Vision Bureau Service, which includes driver-coaching tools to ensure risky driver behaviour can be addressed proactively and efficiently.

Boosting safety for cargo and drivers

The use of a telematics system for fleet vehicles has proved to be an important tool in helping to drive down costs and improve efficiency, says MiX Telematics Africa.

Silencing the guns and firearms amnesty

Silencing the guns and firearms amnesty

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity