Tax relief, sin tax, Eskom and aloes were just some of the highlights from finance minister Tito Mboweni’s budget speech last month
On February 26, finance minister Tito Mboweni delivered the 2020/21 National Budget speech in parliament and his biggest surprise was that tax increases did not happen this year.
While experts predicted increases in VAT and capital gains tax, Mboweni went the other way. He justified this by explaining that after five years of substantial increases each year, even more increases now may impede short-term recovery from a struggling economy.
While there are several tax reliefs, there are also increases and these in turn affect the way the budget is allocated. This is why making the budget available to the public is so important — all of these changes impact our standard of living.
WHAT CAN YOU FIND ON VULEKAMALI?
Vulekamali.gov.za is a platform that allows you to access budget-related information easily and in ways that make understanding the budget (nationally and provincially) a priority. After the minister’s speech every year, the newly tabled budget and related documents are added to Vulekamali, along with simple graphics that break down focus areas and summarise spending.
Currently, there is access to the National Budget as a whole, but this consists of estimates for national expenditure. A total of R963bn is divided into government departments, such as social development, basic education, health and transport. The individual amounts allocated to departments, by National Treasury, range from approximately R174m (traditional affairs) to R198bn (social development), and are based on previous spending and how much money is actually available. Departments are then responsible for allocating money to the provinces, under the watchful eye of Treasury.
To get a sense of how the estimates for national expenditure are calculated, you can go to the Division of Revenue Bill, which helps determine this.
The datasets available on vulekamali will give you an indication of what has increased and decreased. It will also show what the government’s priorities are regarding service delivery. Education was given a boost this year, with an increase of nearly R11m. Part of this will include the introduction of coding and robotics to learners in grade R to 3. Funds will also be moved around to accommodate new universities and schools.
HOW CAN YOU USE BUDGET DATA?
One of the most effective ways of understanding the most recent budget is to look at and compare previous years. This way, you will be able to see where the budget has been cut and increased, while taking inflation into account.
This is important for holding the government accountable. As service providers for the people of South Africa, it is their responsibility to ensure that everyone has their basic rights met, such as housing, water, education, safety and security.
To see how this could impact national and provincial infrastructure and growth, you can compare the budget and department-based allocations under our Infrastructures tab on the homepage of vulekamali. Here, you’ll find information on nearly 70 national and 18,000 provincial projects supported by the different parts of government.
Currently, we only have the National Budget for 2020/21. Provincial budgets will be added to vulekamali.gov.za in June 2020.