NINE EFF EXPECTATIONS ON THE 2019 BUDGET SPEECH

Tuesday,19 February 2019

The  EFF calls  for a people’s  development oriented  budget speech. We call  on the Minister of Finance,  Tito Mboweni,  to include the  following Nine points:

  1.  Doubling  of Social  and Pension  Grants to provide  relief for the poor  and dejected masses of   our  people.
  2.  He must  reverse the  VAT rate from  15% to 14% -­ the  decision to increase VAT  was due to the  mismanagement  of the economy  by the ANC and the  collapse of SARS, which  led to a high revenue  shortfall.  It was easy  to shift the burden  to citizens through a  tax increase, which would   affect  everyone,  including poor  people, as the simplest  form of revenue collection  with minimal work.  The 7.1%  has hit the  poor and workers  the hardest, even after  the attempt to disguise it   with  increase  of zero rated  items however;; majority  of items people consume  were not  included. So  he must reverse  VAT and also scrap  VAT on books.
  3.  Sovereign   Wealth Funds   (SWF) have been   very dynamic, important   instruments, and mechanisms   to save and   redistribute wealth   in resource rich countries.   In our founding manifesto   we said that,   “Owing to surpluses   and many sustainable-­developmental   considerations   that will be  generated as a  result of the South   African state’s control  and ownership  of strategic  sectors of the  economy, government  should establish a sovereign  wealth fund,  which will  prudently invest  in the development  of the African economy.  This fund will also assist  in the insulation  of the South African  economy whenever there are  volatilities in resource-­sector   prices and   when non-­renewable   resources are exhausted.   Most countries, including China, the US,  Saudi Arabia,  Norway, Libya, Nigeria,  Chile, France and many others,  have sovereign  wealth funds  for these purposes.  As we speak, despite  massive resource riches,   South  Africa has  no sovereign  wealth fund, mainly  because South Africans do not own their resources.”
  4. He must  increase corporate  income tax from 28%  to 32% -­ for far too  long, workers, through personal  income tax,  and everyone,  including poor people,  through VAT, has been an  easy target   for revenue   collection when   companies where engaging   in serious aggressive tax   avoidance.  To begin with,  the reason why tax  was reduced from 48%  to now 28% were all never   achieved.  Companies promised  competitiveness, jobs  and industrialization with  low corporate tax  rate.  Instead,  corporate income  tax has been declining  as contribution to overall  revenue collection  with personal  income tax and  VAT contribution to  overall taxes have been  increasing.It  is time  companies make  a fair contribution  instead of being subsidized  by workers and poor people.
  5. He must  announce the  abolishment of  tenders, starting  with cleaning, gardening,  and security guards  -­ majority  of these tenders  are criminal site.  Prices are inflated,  not well structured, and   therefore,  government does  not have a recourse  in the event of poor  services, and workers who   are  explicated,  paid peanuts  with job security,  and often sustainable  as these are awarded in  a corrupt  manner. To  abolish these  tenders is part  of a large project  to build much needed  state capacity,  and bring dignity  to workers through job  security with pension. This  is the low hangingfruit  for government  to save money immediately
  6. He must  tell us when  the government is  going to establish a  state-­owned bank (this  is not just  one, but  will form a  set of state-­owned  banks in different sectors)  -­ a state-­owned Bank is the  more efficient  and direct way the  government will be able  to influence the allocation  of credit into  developmental  projects in an  affordable and sustainable  manner. In this way, state-­owned   bank,  will play  a role in transforming  the financial sector, because  banks constitute the largest component   of the financial sector. With the banking   space dominated by ABSA, FNB,   STANDARD   BANK AND  NEDBANK, race   has been used  as a way of deciding   access to banking  services,  especially credit.  Blacks are charged high  interest, denied credit for  business,and  are required  to put collateral  they don’t have. A  state-­owned bank will  intervene, but also provide  banking for  government and  all state-­owned  entities in an affordable  way.
  7. He must  enforce the  Anti-­Avoidance  of Tax -­ a legislation  that is going to make aggressive   tax   avoidance   illegal, including   removing any uncertainty   and ambiguities which auditing   companies  manipulate as  tax planning. South  Africa loses more than  R150 billion annually, and   this  needs drastic  measures, of which  the legislation is the  beginning. SARS needs a dedicated   unit  to deal  with illicit  financial flows  with a focus on  multinational companies  with subsidiaries in  tax havens.
  8. He must  tell the nation  as to when is government  is going to establish a Judicial  Commission of   Inquiry   into illicit   financial flows,   because it will be   impossible to put legislative   and administrative  measures unless  we understand the  full extent of illicit  financial flows from 1994.
  9. He must  announce the  cancellation of  all purchasing power  agreements with Independent   Power  Producers  (IPPs) signed  in all four bid  windows -­ when presenting  the interim financial statements  in November  2018, Eskom CFO,  Cassin, said that the  cost of IPPs average R2.12   per  kWh and  Eskom can  only sell at  a regulated price,  by Nersa, of less than  90c. He further called  on government  to intervene before  IPPs collapse Eskom. Now  Eskom debt has increased to  more  than R450  billion. Government’s  guarantees portfolio, totals  more than R670 billion, of which   in September   2018, Eskom accounted   for R350 billion of the   total guarantees. This means  Eskom is  the biggest  threat to South  Africa, and all effort  to stabilize the power utility   requires  decisive and  urgent decision  making starting with  cancellation of IPPs, which  will lead to  liquidity  stability immediately.

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