UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT
ISSUED BY GERHARD KOORNHOF, MP
The MTBPS provides good intentions and projects a positive outlook, but its real test will be on whether Government can effectively implement the policies, otherwise it will remain a far-fetched, unrealistic dream during the next three years. Overall fiscal policy on paper remains sound.
Positive aspects of the MTBPS include the following:
1. A commitment to initiate infrastructure programmes that will benefit especially the poor, a view that the UDM has advocated since its establishment in 1997.
2. Acceptance that job creation and sustainable economic growth must be the number one priority for South Africa, a position advocated by the UDM in recent months. The question remains whether enough is being done in this regard.
3. Alleviating poverty amongst poor people. We believe it is possible to break the poverty cycle in South Africa.
4. Continue to promote skills development and education to empower new and existing economically active citizens.
5. Reducing the budget deficit further. The UDM believes that continuous efforts to reduce the deficit will create opportunities and release funds to prioritise spending needs.
6. A promise of further personal income tax relief to overtaxed South Africans.
Remaining challenges are the following:
1. Foreign Direct Investments remain at too low levels, and far below the potential.
2. A larger nationally coordinated effort is needed to promote skills development, training and education. We need to focus on the HOW.
3. Projected figures for the restructuring of state assets for the next three years is disappointing and remain lower than expectations.
4. Spending on HIV/AIDS prevention, despite a special allocation, is still inadequate if we take the likely impact of HIV/AIDS on the economy into account.
5. Commitment to crime prevention is inadequate measured against the extent of the problem in SA.
6. The potential of tourism is underestimated.
Government has to deliver on sustainable development by initiating programmes that create a climate for job creation, economic growth and poverty alleviation. This remains a major challenge