Media statement issued by UDM Finance Spokesperson on the National Budget (20 February 2008)

Minister Manual unfortunately delivered the "same old same", though it seems positive on the surface, there is not any indication of how actual delivery will occur.

Nor does the Minister address the fundamental question of why we do not get value for the billions of taxpayer money that is allocated to such important issues as employment, Education and the fight against crime. Lack of skills and capacity in the civil service means that money is spent without results and billions are never even spent.

Eloquent speeches do not translate into real delivery; we know this because the Minister's previous speeches were also eloquent.

Particular issues that we have noted from the speech are:
The decision of a welfare "means test" revision is welcomed
It is regrettable that social grant increases don't keep up with inflation
The child grant is still not extended to cover all children to the age of 18, thereby contributing to high school dropout rates for the age group 15 to 18.
Raising fuel taxes is an unfortunate inflationary step - Government continues to use fuel as a cash-cow, it raises the cost of living and eats into household incomes, hitting the poor hardest.
New electricity tax is regressive - should be using incentives not penalties.

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