SECTION27 believes that on the whole the MTBPS, within the constraints set by an economy still struggling to recover from the global financial crisis, provides a good balance between the need to sustain economic growth and create jobs on the one hand, and continue to expand social services on the other. We do, however, have a number of concerns. In summary, these are as follows:
- The shift in expenditure from consumption to infrastructure investment, while important in creating jobs and sustaining economic growth, has the potential to put a great deal of strain on allocations for critical goods and services such as medicines, school supplies and social assistance.
- Increases in infrastructure spending will only have their intended effect if the government overcomes existing problems with infrastructure projects and spending such as poor planning, ineffectual oversight and rampant fraud and corruption.
- There was no clear commitment to the allocation of resources for National Health Insurance (NHI) and its piloting in ten districts in the next financial year. While it is not feasible to establish an NHI-specific budget at this stage, the Minister must show a clear commitment to this process in all budget documentation going forward.
- The National Strategic Plan for HIV & AIDS, STIs and TB, 2012-2016 (“the NSP 2012-2016”) will be launched on 1 December 2011; it will require substantial financial resources for it full implementation. We are concerned in the MTBPS documentation there has been no commitment to ensuring that sufficient resources will be made available for the first year of implementation starting on 1 April 2012.
- Clear and sustainable plans must be developed to ensure that the rapidly increasing public sector wage bill does not compromise expenditure in other areas such as the purchase of goods and services
- No provision has been made for overcoming the growing health budget crisis in Gauteng and other provinces potentially, The Gauteng Department of Health and Social Development currently has accruals totalling more than R1.4 billion and is unable to pay many of its suppliers and service providers for goods and services delivered.
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