Parliament passes Appropriation Bill, proposing R1-trillion budget

The National Assembly has passed the Appropriation Bill, signaling the government’s commitment to allocating funds for the current financial year.

The bill, presented by Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana in February, aims to appropriate money from the National Revenue Fund (NRF) in accordance with the constitution and the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo noted in a statement that the proposed vote allocation for the 2023/2024 financial year amounts to R1.077-trillion, excluding direct charges against the NRF.

He said the budget reaffirms the government’s priorities as outlined in the 2022 medium-term budget policy statement, emphasizing the allocation of resources to key sectors and public services.

“The proposed vote allocations allocate 74% to transfers and subsidies” said Mothapo.

“These are transfers to provinces, municipalities, public corporations, and other non-profit making entities, mainly for the payment of social grants, conditional grants allocations and transfers to public entities, university subsidies, and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.”

Mothapo highlighted the budget’s commitment to maintaining a prudent fiscal stance while directing resources toward infrastructure investments, strengthening the justice system, and mitigating fiscal and economic risks.

He said the government aims to achieve these objectives without resorting to tax rate increases that could potentially hamper economic growth.

“The budget continues to maintain the fiscal consolidation strategy of reducing the budget deficit and stabilising government debt as a percentage of GDP [gross domestic product], supporting economic growth by maintaining a prudent fiscal stance while directing resources towards infrastructure investments, strengthening the criminal justice system to fight crime and corruption; and reducing the fiscal and economic risks, including through the Eskom debt-relief arrangement.

“The government has committed to achieving these objectives without resorting to tax rate increases that could harm economic growth.

“In pursuant of higher economic growth, the 2023 budget remains anchored on the objectives of ensuring a stable macroeconomic framework to create a conducive environment for savings, investment, and growth; the implementation of growth-enhancing reforms in key sectors, particularly in energy, transport, and logistics; and strengthening the capacity of the state to deliver quality public services, investment in infrastructure and fighting crime and corruption.

“Having considered the bill, the standing committee on appropriations recommended, among others, that the minister of finance ensures that parliament’s appropriated funds through this bill are utilised in a manner as envisaged in the constitution and in compliance with all laws and regulations that govern the country’s public finances.

“Also, the National Treasury makes it mandatory for all municipalities to report monthly on all contracts that have been awarded, including the successful bidders, rand value of contracts and itemised billing on the National Treasury’s database.

“Having considered the report of the committee and debated the bill, the National Assembly adopted the 2023 Appropriation Bill.”

With the passage of the Appropriation Bill, the National Council of Provinces is expected to undertake a thorough examination of the bill, consider its provisions and make further recommendations before its final approval.


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