SA debt not unsustainable – Gordhan

South Africa’s debt had not reached unsustainable levels and the deficit was being managed well, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Wednesday.

“We kept our promise that we will consolidate our fiscus ever further and above all we said we would make sure that our debt is sustainable.

“We do not have unsustainable debt, we are managing our deficit well. What we should do is … stop shooting ourselves in the foot,” Gordhan said in response to opposition criticism during the parliamentary debate on the Appropriations Bill. 

He reiterated that National Treasury was intent on keeping spending in check without imposing austerity cuts on South Africans, and said it would continue to eliminate wasteful expenditure.

“We have another list of current wasteful expenditure we want to cut in this and the coming years.” Treasury has set a target of reducing the deficit for the 2016/17 fiscal year to 3.2 percent of GDP from 3.9 percent in 2015/16, but it is expected that the country’s debt service costs will rise to almost R180 billion in 2018/19. – African News Agency

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