Budget reaction statement by Mr Jackson Bici, MP (UDM Finance Spokesperson) (11 February 2009)

We recognise that the current international and domestic economic environment is challenging, and welcome the effort by Government to produce a balanced budget.

The budget has good elements, and bad elements.

On the good side there have been social grant increases to alleviate poverty, as well as increased amounts given to Education and Health. We welcome the infrastructure development investments that Government will make - it is a long-held policy position of the UDM and we are glad that this economy-boosting and job creating option is being expanded.

Naturally these budgetary allocations don't necessarily mean that service delivery will improve. It depends on implementation, and that will mean that a radical reduction in rollovers, misspending and mismanagement will be required.

Another negative side of this budget is the SAA bailout. This is a regrettable course of action. It rewards bad management and is offered on the back of a long series of 'plans' and 'strategies' which have all promised to be empty promises. It is also especially disturbing that such a bailout is being given at a time when serious questions about massive possible corruption at SAA have arisen.