GAUTENG provincial treasury has been allocated a budget of R807 778 000 for the 2020-2021 financial year, MEC of Finance Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko announced during her budget vote speech on Tuesday.
Nkomo-Ralehoko said the economic situation in South Africa and that of the entire world has worsened since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“Today, all countries in the world are facing a global health and economic emergency resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Nkomo-Ralehoko.
“According to the World Bank’s June 2020 Global Economic Prospects, the world’s economy is experiencing the deepest contraction since World War 2. In fact, even some of the richest countries are grappling with biggest economic declines in per capita output since the year 1870.”
“South Africa is part of the globalized world, as such our economy has been plunged into a recession and is estimated to contract by 6% this year. Millions of our people have lost their livelihoods, while millions more have been pushed into extreme poverty. Equality in our society has also worsened.”
Nkomo-Ralehoko said that in the past financial year, Gauteng provincial departments spent a total of R128.3 billion, or 97% of the budget, to provide public services to citizens including education, social services and healthcare.
In addition, the province also increased spending on conditional grants from R21.552 billion or 93% of the budget in previous financial year to R22 billion or 95% of the total budget.
Expenditure on infrastructure amounted to R10.8 billion or 97% of the total budget.
She said municipalities were supported during the lockdown period through the reprioritisation of the USDG, UIDG and MIG grants totalling R1,2 billion.
The funds were used on COVID-19 related measures as afforded by the transferring departments.
“I remain resolute in my undertaking to ensure that we pay municipalities what is due in terms of municipal services provided. I can confirm to this House that provincial departments have paid municipalities an amount of R2 billion for the 2019/2020 financial year. At present, we owe municipalities less than 1% of the total outstanding debt due to municipalities,” said Nkomo-Ralehoko.
“However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our intergovernmental deliberations are now taking place through online platforms, where important legislative updates, deliberations on their budgets and financial management regulations are discussed. I have done the same with my deliberations with the Members of the Mayoral Committee of Finance within Municipalities.”
Nkomo-Ralehoko also announced that the Municipal Financial Governance business unit has been allocated a budget of R76 million to support municipalities in the 2020/21 financial year.
She added that the Gauteng Infrastructure Financing Agency (GIFA) continued to implement the important task of sourcing alternative funding to enhance infrastructure service delivery in this province.
GIFA’s project pipeline now consist of 32 projects, with an estimated value of more than R40 billion.
“We will continue to develop these projects to a bankable stage to attract private sector funding over the medium-term period,” she said.
(Compiled by Inside Politics staff)