I barely understand my own budget, so making sense of a country’s budget is like herding cats. A degree in economics is, however, not required to know that my country’s budget and economic wellbeing has an impact on my personal financial position.

Although, the mid-term budget is considered the “mini” budget, a few staggering statements were made. Some of these “not-so-mini” statements from the Minister of Finance made it very clear that South Africans will continue to be weighed down by some financial millstones for a while to come.

Here are 10 times Minister Nhlanhla Nene mentioned that we are still caught between a rock and a hard place:

1. In his opening notes:

“Honourable Members, global economic growth has slowed. Commodity prices remain depressed and unemployment has increased in many parts of the world.”

2. When he spoke about the current economic growth:

“Growth is considerably lower in our economy than we projected in February.”

3. When he explained the reasons for the slow economic growth:

“This is in part a consequence of the global slowdown, but it also reflects our energy constraint and structural weaknesses in our economy.”

4. When he emphasised the tough choices in the Medium-term Budget Policy Statement:

“The MTBPS outlines the tough choices we have to make, and challenges us to implement the National Development Plan with vigour.”

5. When he mentioned all the things that are not enough:

“Building houses is not enough…” “Our education and training capacity is not enough…” and “Our levels of investment are not enough…”

6. When he mentioned growth again:

“And we also know that growth is not enough: investments in health, nutrition and basic living conditions are key contributors to poverty reduction, social mobility and lower inequality.”

7. When he asked for stronger partnerships:

“When times are tough, as they are now, it is that much more important that we strengthen the partnerships that put our children first.”

8. Then there was this obvious and grim revelation:

“If we do not achieve growth, revenue will not increase. If revenue does not increase, expenditure cannot be expanded.”

9. He had to mention the food prices and state of our currency:

“Higher food prices and the weakening of the rand are expected to contribute to a rebound in inflation to around 6 per cent a year over the period ahead.”

10. Finally he drew this daunting conclusion:

“Honourable Speaker, it is apparent that slower growth and volatility will remain features of the world economy for some time to come.”

About The Author

Enrique Grobbelaar

Enrique is the eternal entrepreneur: his first venture was selling off his parents’ household goods at bargain prices to their neighbours at age seven. All other endeavours thus far have been entirely above board.

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