MEC for Finance, Enterprise and Economy Development (FEED) department, Wendy Nelson presented her department budget speech at North West Provincial Legislature on Thursday. Nelson said the budget allocation of R486 299m will implore upon citizens of Bokone Bophirima province.
“This will support radical economic transformation In recognition of the daunting “unending” task of developing a non-racial democratic South Africa, which task is the responsibility of the current and future generations, the province is calling upon all citizens, business community, private sector and organized labour to work together in the context of Saamtrek-Saamwerk to dismantle the socio-economic features of apartheid like poverty, unemployment and inequality.
“The current economic climate of our country in particular our downgrading to below investment grade which is commonly referred to as “junk status” is a temporary setback. Notwithstanding the downgrade to “junk status” and the projected negative economic outlook, the “junk status” has created opportunities for the country and the province.
“It compels us to build our economic resilience based on our provincial economic opportunities by deliberately directing investment to villages, township and small dorpies (VTSD) for economic growth and development. While recognizing the importance of participating in the global economy, the economic growth in the VTSD should serve to protect us from the global external factors and materially limit our exposure to the world economic uncertainties,” Nelson said.
She said that the province is unapologetic about its determination to change the socio-economic conditions of the previously marginalised communities mainly located in the VTSD areas. Nelson further said they will not deviate from their plans in implementing the National Development Plan (NDP).
“The current economic conditions have re-ignited our desire to double our efforts in the implementation of the Five Concretes. The 2017/18 budget will serve to re-affirm the position of the province in the implementation of the programmes that seek to alleviate poverty. Economic outlook proposed that the South African economy should grow by 5.4% per annum in order to create additional jobs for many unemployed South Africans, reduce unemployment by 6% by 2030 and reduce income inequalities.
“As a response to the slow economic growth, the province has targeted a 6% economic growth by 2019. We will drive economic growth through key provincial strategic economic pillars of Agriculture, Culture and Tourism (ACT) supported by tributaries and VTSD industrialization. Bokone Bophirima Government will continue to provide a conducive environment for the private sector and community participation in the development of our economy in the context of Saamtrek-Saamwerk,” Nelson.
She added that FEED department has successfully maintained clean audit status for the past three years. Nelson said the audit report for 2016/17 will inspire the province to increase the number of “clean audit” reports.
“Our department also paid invoiceswithin 30 days effectively for the past twelve months. We have spent R184.4 million towards VTSD suppliers and this translated to 81% of its identified items. The executive council is keen in the implementation of Post Audit Action Plans by tracking progress regarding the implementation of corrective measures on a monthly basis. The Provincial Supply Chain Management has also conducted 448 Community Outreach Programmes through Setsokotsane. These services included 50 Tendering Workshops, 20 Pricing and Invoicing Workshops, 29 Rural Development Projects, 33 Consultations and 270 VTSD Supplier Registrations;
“The department is working together with Ikatisong School of Governance, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and National Skills Fund (NSF). We have linked 150 unemployed graduates and learners to experiential opportunities in departments, entities and municipalities. By the end of the programme which varies from 1 – 2 years effective from October 2016, the graduates would have gained a minimum of 1 year experience to enter the job market,” she said.
Nelson added that they have exceeded the revenue target of R1.1 billion by R55 million which represents 5% of our own revenue budget. –Newsnote