By Ntombi Mhlongo
The Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg has tabled a national budget of E26.44 billion. This reflects an increase of 14 per cent when compared to the current financial year which is coming to an end.
Delivering the Budget Speech at the House of Assembly, the minister said the budget is largely informed by the need to provide for new policies and programs.
The programs, he said, included but were not limited to the construction and rehabilitation of roads, increased provision for scholarship grants and provision for the national elections.
The budget has also prioritized exit packages for outgoing politicians and the completion of capital projects, the target being the International Convention Centre (ICC).
The minister’s theme for his speech was ‘First fruit: “Stimulating growth through trade facilitation, creation of a conducive business environment, enhanced public investment, social protection, prioritized expenditure and improved revenue collection to ensure sustainable budget deficits”.
Some of the allocations in the budget for what the nation had expected including the much-anticipated national dialogue. The minister revealed that the budget provides about E30 million to facilitate the dialogue.
Read More: Live-Blog: Budget Speech 2023
Highlights of the speech include an increase in the budget for key sectors including education, investment and social security. Among them is a 20 per cent growth in the Free Primary Education (FPE) grants.
The fiscal barometer of the budget reflects what total appropriated expenditure is set to increase by E24.37 billion which is an increase of 13 per cent.
Below are the highlights of the Budget:
– Scholarships – E647 million
– Education – E5.11 billion
– Social Protection – E1.41 billion
– Roads rehabilitation – E514 million
– Health-E2.79 billion
– Agricultural – E1.63 billion