by DION HENRICK in Cape Town
CAPE TOWN – SOUTH Africa will allocate more than R10 billion (US$689,5 million) for the purchase and delivery of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines over the next two years.
This was among the major announcement in the Budget Speech delivered by Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, in Parliament on Wednesday.
In addition, the government is increasing the contingency reserve from R5 billion to R12 billion to make provision for the further purchase of vaccines and to cater for other emergencies.
Mboweni started his speech by mourning the passing of nearly 50 000 of fellow South Africans as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The damage caused by COVID-19 runs deep and we share in the collective pain of many South Africans who have lost their jobs,” he said.
On the fiscal framework, main budget revenue is projected to be R1,35 trillion, or 25,3 per cent as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2021/22.
This rises to R1,52 trillion in the outer year (2023/24) of the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).
Total consolidated spending is to amount to R2 trillion each year over the medium term, the majority of which goes towards social services.
Mboweni expressed optimism on the improved economic outlook.
Global economic growth is expected to rebound to 5,5 percent in 2021, buoyed by the expected rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.
Sub-Saharan Africa is forecast to grow by 3,2 percent.
Mboweni added the South African economy was expected to rebound by 3,3 percent this year, following a 7,2 percent contraction in 2020.
Other highlights include R11 billion for the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative, taking the total funding for employment creation to nearly R100 billion.
There is also the R791,2 billion the government has committed to infrastructure investment. This would include the upgrading and expansion of the six busiest border posts.
A total allocation of R7 billion has been made to the Land Bank.
– CAJ News