Response to the 2007 national budget media statment issued by UDM spokesperson for finance (21 February 2007)
It is a good budget. We welcome the better than expected revenue collection. The UDM is pleased with increases in salary for teachers, medical workers and police force members.

Social grant increases are welcome if still from a relatively small base. We continue to ask for a more integrated social development system that targets poor households and links education and healthcare with social grants, so that it is possible to monitor the progress of poor households and especially the development of the children in poor households.

We believe that with the bigger than expected revenue at its disposal Government should have shown its commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS by lowering the threshold for ARV treatment. By for instance commencing treatment at a CD4 count of 300 or 400 instead of the current 200, it would have meant that we would be saving many more lives by providing treatment before people are desperately ill.

Notwithstanding the good intentions of this budget, we are concerned about the ability of Departments, Provinces and Local Governments to spend the money and spend it correctly. These capacity and management shortfalls are significant and have the perverse effect that big budgets are promised but often little delivery occurs.

The Minister neglected to announce any new anti-corruption measures or to address the new revelations regarding the arms deal which continues to be a massive drain on the national budget.

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