Pretoria - The North West MEC for Finance Paul Sebegoe has allocated a huge chunk of the province’s 2013/14 budget to the social cluster which comprises the Departments of Education, Health and Social Development.
The 2013/14 budget amounts to R28.566 billion.
The cluster received R22.028 billion or 77 percent of the budget in the next financial year, with education receiving the lion’s share of the budget of R11.321 billion or 40 percent of funds.
“Education is a key priority not only to this government but also the national government takes a keen interest in the quality of education provided to the citizens of the province,” said Sebegoe, delivering the province’s budget in the Legislature Tuesday.
The department has been commended for the improved Grade 12 results last year - 79.5%, up from the previous year’s 77.8%.
The department allocation is intended to ensure, amongst other things, adequate provision of learner support material, mathematics, science and technology services, provision of water, electricity and sanitation facilities in schools, universalisation of Grade R and the expansion of no-fee schools.
Sebegoe said he was confident that the department would ensure the effective management of compensation of employee’s budget, the main cost driver of the departmental expenditure. He said if it was not managed properly it might negatively affect the departmental budget.
The Health Department received the second largest share of the budget which increased from R7.083 billion in 2012/13 to R7.667 billion in 2013/14. The budget will increase to R8.569 billion in the 2015/16 financial year.
Sebegoe said the budget would strive for the attainment of increased life expectancy, decrease the maternal and child mortality rate, combating HIV and AIDS and decreasing the burden of Tuberculosis as well as strengthening the effectiveness of the health system.
Social Development, Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities received an allocation of R1.082 billion for 2013/14 for the provision of integrated, comprehensive and high quality social protection services to maximise the capacity of the poor and vulnerable individuals, households and communities.
Public Works, Roads and Transport received the third largest portion of the provincial budget at R3.393 billion.
Sports, Arts and Culture received R466 million, Economic Development, Environment, Conservation and Tourism was allocated R486.062 million.
Agriculture and Rural Development was allocated R834.804 million and the provincial Legislature has been allocated an amount of R217.142 million.
The Office of the Premier got R259.669 million in 2013/14, while the Department of Finance received an allocation of R465 million.
Human Settlement, Public Safety and Liaison received R451.612 million for public safety branch and R1.491 billion for human settlement branch, whilst local government and traditional affairs received R430.960 million
“What we present today is the ‘people’s budget’ and appeal to all us to join North West government in the ownership of this budget. It must serve our interest and change our lives for the better,” said Sebegoe. - SAnews.gov.za