Cabinet supports 2017 Budget commitments

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Pretoria - Cabinet has expressed support for the 2017 National Budget that was tabled by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan last week.

“Cabinet supports the commitments made in the 2017 National Budget to advance radical economic transformation and draw more South Africans into the economy towards inclusive growth.

“In the main, the budget acknowledges that growth without transformation would only reinforce the inequitable patterns from the past,” Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) Jeff Radebe said.

Briefing reporters on Thursday following Cabinet’s fortnightly meeting, Minister Radebe said the redistribution in support of education, health services and municipal functions in rural areas remains the central thrust of government’s spending programmes.

He said procurement reforms continue to improve the effectiveness of public spending and open opportunities for small business participation.

“Budget allocations support economic growth and development -- R3.9 billion for small, medium and micro enterprises and cooperatives; R4.2 billion for industrial infrastructure in Special Economic Zones and Industrial Parks; R1.9 billion for broadband implementation; R3.9 billion for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, an additional R494 million for tourism promotion, an additional R266m to support the aquaculture sector.

"To realise the goals of the Ocean Economy (Operation Phakisa), and spending on agriculture, rural development and land reform amount to nearly R30 billion by 2019/20.”

Minister Radebe said the budget plays a central role in transformation by promoting redistribution and directing scarce resources towards catalytic investments in human and physical capital.

Minister Gordhan tabled the budget on 22 February 2017 at a joint sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces in Parliament.

NSFAS

When coming to the funding of higher education, the budget ensures that financially needy students can access tertiary education.

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has provided funding to over 300 000 new and returning students to study at universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges across the country in 2017. The fund expects to add a further 100 000 students this year.

The R15 billion allocated to NSFAS by government will assist in alleviating the financial burden faced by financially needy and missing middle students.

At a briefing in Pretoria last month, the NSFAS said it has received a total 161 938 applications from students seeking funding for 2017 in universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges across the country. - SAnews.gov.za

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