Weak growth worries treasury
LOWVELDER / 25 NOVEMBER 2019 - 16.03 / MIREILLE DE VILLIERS
The MEC for finance, economic development and tourism tabled the adjustment budget last week.
MBOMBELA – The City of Mbombela’s worryingly low growth rate continues.
According to MEC for finance, economic development and tourism, Pat Ngomane, the weak economic performance of the four municipal areas, 70 per cent of Mpumalanga’s economy, is concerning.
The City of Mbombela, eMalahleni, Steve Tshwete and Govan Mbeki all experienced growth rates of one per cent or less per annum between 2014 and 2018, the MEC noted in his speech tabling the provincial government’s Adjustment Appropriations Bill in the Mpumalanga Legislature.
“This challenging economic environment had a negative impact on provincial unemployment and job creation.”
52 420 jobs were created in Mpumalanga in the past year
Ngomane noted that while a number of jobs were created – in finance, mining, community services and agriculture – there were significant job losses over the past year, in utilities, manufacturing, construction, trade and transport, “putting a damper on the positive developments of job creation, resulting in net job creation of only 2 062”.
Ngomane said to change this, strategic partnerships with all stakeholders and catalytic programmes such as industrial technology parks, the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producing Programme and Special Economic Zones were needed.
“We must analyse the socio-economic impact of the global and domestic push towards renewable energy. Now that national cabinet has approved the Integrated Resource Plan 2019, we must work to ensure its implementation for the benefit of the people.”
In total, provincial treasury reprioritised R216,8 million “to fund emerging and unavoidable pressures”.
The main “winners” and “losers”
• Office of the Premier – R10 million for the establishing of the Youth Fund to address unemployment • Cooperative governance – R80 million for vehicles and house subsidies for traditional leaders as well as livestock replacement related to disaster management • Economic development and tourism – R213,2 million allocated to the International Fresh Produce Market has been rescheduled to 2020/21 • Public works, roads and transport – R95 million for road upgrades, government complex maintenance and paving of municipal roads • Health – R5 million to be transferred to community safety and security for additional security at health facilities. R130 million from hospital construction programme rescheduled to the next financial year • Culture, sport and recreation – R20 million moved to Department of Human Settlements for implementation of bulk infrastructure at the High Altitude Training Centre.
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