EC premier throws his weight behind draft Appropriation Bill

Eastern Cape premier Oscar has come out in full support of the Appropriation Bill.
DEVELOPMENT VITAL: Eastern Cape premier Oscar has come out in full support of the Appropriation Bill.
Image: THE HERALD/FREDLIN ADRIAAN

Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane has made contributions to the debate on the Appropriation Bill and has come out in full support of it.

He was speaking on Thursday during the National Council of Province’s debate on the draft bill.

Mabuyane said provincial government had already reprioritised R307m of the travel and subsistence budget of all departments and redirected it to the department of health to assist in the fight against the pandemic.

This was in line with what the bill hoped to achieve, which was to deal effectively with the allocation and specific spending of government funds.

He also called for the finalisation of the Equitable Share Formula Review process which should take into account the cost of development in rural provinces to really advance the developmental agenda of government, particularly huge infrastructure backlogs.

He said when the Appropriation Bill was planned and budgeted for, the equitable share component was R85bn in the Eastern Cape.

“It represented a 4.6 percentage point of growth against the CPI, while other provincial equitable shares are above CPI.

“We want to record our unreserved discontent about this matter because it works against the developmental challenges we are trying to address,” he said.

“We are also of the view that as a country we must put our money where our mouth is. By this we mean there must be an equitable share that is dedicated to the agricultural sector for economic growth, food security and sustainable job creation.”

He also raised the issue of a share split between the three spheres of government.

“The people of SA, the masses who give us the mandate to govern on their behalf live in a ward, a ward is in a municipality and a municipality is in a province.

“It does not make sense therefore that local government is allocated an equitable share of 8.8% and provinces 42.2% while national government gets the bigger slice of 49.2%.”

Mabuyane also called for a conditional grant allocated directly to provinces for economic growth initiatives.

“As of now our economic growth agenda is at the mercy of national government departments and SOEs. Our saviour from this untenable situation is a conditional grant built from the fiscal resources that are allocated to national departments and SOEs for economic development in provinces.

“That money must be allocated directly to provinces to accelerate economic growth and job creation,” Mabuyane said.

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