Government will spend over R200bn in 2016/17 to drive economic growth, according to the National Budget.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan delivered the National Budget in Parliament on Wednesday. He highlighted that economic growth is slow, unemployment is “far too high” and that many businesses and families are under stress.
Treasury’s projection for economic growth is to increase from 0.5% last year to 1.3% in 2017.
Gordhan further explained the importance of transformation to ensure inclusive economic growth, and that the National Development Plan (NDP) is part of ensuring the “sustainability and integrity” of the country’s transformation path.
Spend in economic affairs supports the NDP objectives of growing the economy and employment, according to the budget. Spend is expected to increase to R244bn by 2019/20; it will focus on developing infrastructure and industry, and creating jobs.
Government will continue to provide incentives for special economic zones, critical infrastructure and manufacturing, read the budget. Over the medium term R4.2bn will be allocated for industrial infrastructure projects. Of these projects, 32 are to be approved for special economic zones and industrial parks.
The Manufacturing Incentive Programme, which is allocated R9.6bn over the medium term, is expected to benefit 1 450 companies. A further R1.3bn is allocated to boost competitiveness.
The Industrial Development Corporation is allocated R95m to establish the Steel Development Fund.
As for road infrastructure, expenditure is expected to increase from R40.8bn in 2016/17 to R47bn in 2019/20.
Small, medium and micro enterprises will also benefit from R3.9bn provided. Further, schemes such as the national informal business upliftment scheme and the Black Business Supplier Development Programme will provide support to small businesses.